Football in Costa Rica
CountryCosta Rica
Governing bodyCosta Rican Football Federation
National team(s)Men's national team
First played1862
National competitions
International competitions
Costa Rica and England teams line up for national anthems at Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte during their match at the FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil.

Football is the most popular sport in Costa Rica.[1][2][3] Costa Rica has long been considered an exporter of footballers within Central America, with 19 players in European professional football leagues during 2006.[4] The newspaper, La Nación, has prepared an annual census of these "Legionnaires" since 1994.[5]

The main professional league in the country is Costa Rican Primera División run by UNAFUT.[6] There is a second tier league, Segunda División de Costa Rica, to which the last team of Primera is relegated after each season, and from which the champion is promoted to Primera. and a third tier league in addition to many amateur players.

Costa Rican players have made significant contributions to other nations' professional leagues, most notably the Mexican Primera Division since it became professional in 1943.[7] These "Legionnaires" have represented the Costa Rica national football team, which most recently has included several players contracted to clubs outside Costa Rica during its 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.[8] On 24 June 2014, the Costa Rica team qualified for the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup, topping a group that contained three former World Champions, beating Uruguay 3-1, Italy 1-0 and drawing their final game against England. Victory over Greece on penalties in the knock out stage secured them a place in the quarter finals. In November 2020, FIFA announced that the Bureau of Council awarded Costa Rica the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, which was earlier to be hosted between 20 January and 6 February 2021.[9]

League system

Level League(s)/Division(s)
1 Primera División
12 clubs
↓↑ 1 club
2 Segunda División de Costa Rica
18 clubs divided in 2 series of 9
↓↑ 1 club
3 Torneo LINAFA
60 clubs divided in 8 series, five of 8 clubs, two of 7 clubs and one of 6 clubs

See also


  1. ^ "University for Peace". University for Peace. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Costa Rica Could Learn From Uruguay's Example". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  3. ^ WSC Daily. "When Saturday Comes - Costa Rica goes crazy for the "team of migrants"". Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Un país exportador" [An exporting country] (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes. 19 August 2006.
  5. ^ Calvo C., Rordigo (3 November 2011). "Aporte de la legión llegó a 77 jugadores y técnicos en 2011" (in Spanish). La Nación.
  6. ^ Tor-Kristian Karlsen. "World Cup 2014: five things you didn't know about Costa Rica". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  7. ^ Montes, Juan Martín (5 September 2012). "Muy pocos, pero los 'Ticos' han dejado huella en México: Medford" (in Spanish). Medio Tiempo.
  8. ^ Nieto, Aarón (9 June 2012). "Costa Rica vence a México, al menos en 'europeos'" [Costa Rica beats Mexico, in number of 'Europeans'] (in Spanish). Récord.
  9. ^ "Update on FIFA Club World Cup 2020 and women's youth tournaments". Retrieved 17 November 2020.