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Monday, October 23, 2006

Football in Costa Rica: Heredia vs. La Liga de Alajuela

By: DJLera

In every corner of America except the United States, football is life. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina have produced some of the best players and teams in the world and tiny Costa Rica is on the rise. In the 2006 World Cup held in Germany, this country of 4 million fielded a team that made it to the final 32. On that day I’m told the entire country was wearing red. For anyone living here for an extended period of time, I highly recommend attending some matches or partidos. The excitement and atmosphere are unlike anything I have experienced in the United States. Plus you will learn some very interesting and colorful words. Costa Rica has twelve football clubs that are divided into two groups. Matches are generally played on Sundays, but weeknight games are not uncommon. Without doubt the two best teams are Saprissa (San José) in purple and La Liga (Alajuela) in red and black. These teams have the most money, the most fans and the biggest stadiums. On Sunday I went to see La Liga play Heredia in Heredia. Tickets can be bought at the gates up to one day before. You have options, usually including, sun or shade and numbered or unnumbered seats. I was in the sunny numbered seats which cost about 4.000 colones, a price my Tico friends found quite stiff. Like any sporting event you can buy food and drinks from wandering vendors. They even sell ponchos should you be caught in a downpour. Football is not a sport that stops for weather, as demonstrated on Sunday. After 15 minutes of heavy rain the field looked more like a lake, but the fans were not phased. All in all it was a great experience even though Heredia lost 2-1. For more info you can check out the Costa Rican Football Federation’s website or read the back pages of any local newspaper.
Click to view Lisa and Bruce's entire photo album from the football game: