Association football in Costa Rica

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Association football is the most popular sport in the Central American state of Costa Rica.[1] This is due in part to the strength of the Costa Rica national football team.

Costa Rica has long been considered an exporter of footballers, with 19 players in European professional football leagues during 2006.[2] The newspaper, La Nación, has prepared an annual census of these "Legionnaires" since 1994.[3]

The main professional league in the country is Costa Rican Primera División run by UNAFUT. 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 a large number of 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.[4] 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.[5]


Following is a list of the teams with most supporters from Costa Rica with data from Facebook:[6]

  1. Alajuelense - 460.000
  2. Saprissa - 454.000
  3. CS Herediano - 72.000
  4. CS Cartagines - 52.000


  1. ^ The University for Peace - About Costa Rica
  2. ^ "Un país exportador" [An exporting country] (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes. 19 August 2006. 
  3. ^ Calvo C., Rordigo (3 November 2011). "Aporte de la legión llegó a 77 jugadores y técnicos en 2011" (in Spanish). La Nación. 
  4. ^ Montes, Juan Martín (5 September 2012). "Muy pocos, pero los 'Ticos' han dejado huella en México: Medford" (in Spanish). Medio Tiempo. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^

See also[edit]