Karen Cope

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Karen Cope
Personal information
Full nameKaren Cope Charles
NicknameLa Negra
NationalityCosta Rican
Born (1985-11-06) November 6, 1985 (age 33)
San Jose, San Jose Province, Costa Rica
HometownSan José, Costa Rica
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight55 kg (121 lb)
Spike315 cm (124 in)
Block297 cm (117 in)
Beach volleyball information
Current teammate
Years Teammate
2016 Nathalia Alfaro
Previous teammates
Years Teammate
2013 Marianela Alfaro
Last updated: January 2017

Karen Cope Charles (born November 6, 1985 in El Limón) is a female beach volleyball and volleyball player from Costa Rica who played the 2006 and 2010 FIVB indoor World Championships and the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Summer Olympics in beach volleyball.

Personal and early life[edit]

Cope is 173 cm (5 ft 8 in) tall 55 kilograms (121 lb), born as Karen Cope Charles[1] on June 11, 1985 in Limón, Limón Province, Costa Rica.[2] She is the daughter of Stwart Cope a former basketball player,[3] and Brenda Charles Clark, now-deceased,[4] who is former sports educator and national record holder in track and field.[5][4] She have an older sister named Karen and a little brother named Carlton.[6]

As an Afro-Costa Rican, she expressed along with boxer Hanna Gabriel pride for her roots, backing and celebrating the Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture.[7][8]



Kope played the Pan-AmericanCup, reaching the eleventh place[9] and the seventh place during the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, where most of the Costa Rican athletes had to cover their own expenses, including the entire volleyball team.[10]

After playing the TV Azteca Women's Stars tournament,[11] she made the selection for the 2006 FIVB World Championship, appointed for jumping ability and considered one of the team's top players.[12] The Costa Rica national team, then ranked No.33, lost 0-3 in their World Championships debut to Korea in spite of Cope's team resistance,[13] and many defensive mistakes.[14] 0-3 to Japan to worsen 0-2 in the pool A ranking[15] and finally, her national team won their first ever set, but losing 1-3 to Poland, even when Cope was a highlight because of her jumping abilities and spike, while losing their third match.[16] They beat Kenya in a 3-2 comeback, the first ever win for her national team in the World Championships,[17] they thanked the audience support while their captain admitted their better concentration through the match as one of the key roles for the win.[18] After they lost to Chinese Taipei 0-3 they were eliminated in the first round of the championship,[19] finally ranking tied-17th.[20]

While playing World Championship, she signed with the Swedish club EVS Engelholm Volleyball Sallskap, with plans to play professional volleyball and study.[21] She got that through the Costa Rica National team advisor, Canadian Lorne Sawula, who sent a video to Sweden.[22] She played the 2006/2007 CEV Top Teams Cup,[23] and helped her team to reach the continental cup semifinals[24] and the local league second place.[25]


When she finished her season with the Swedish team, she returned to Costa Rica to play with the local University of Costa Rica. She also announced her singing with the Swiss club Kanti Schaffhausen.[26]

She then played the Pan-American Cup where her team played without any preparation games.[27] Her team lost the seventh place match game against Peru, besides Cope's 14 points.[28] And later went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to play the volleyball tournament of the Pan American Games. Besides being the top or second best scorer for her team, they lost 0-3 to the Dominican Republic[29] and 2-3 to Mexico, ending her participation in eighth place.[30]


Cope played the 2007-08 CEV Challenge Cup season with her Swiss team[31] and lost to Romanian Dinamo Romprest Bucuresti in the third round.[32]

During the 2008–09 CEV Cup With Kanti Schaffhausen, they defeated the Croatian OTP Banka Pula[33] 3-0 and 3-0 in the 1/16 round[34][35] and later to the Portuguese Clube Desportivo Ribeirense 2-3 and 3-0.[36] Before falling to the German Rote Raben Vilsbiburg in the quarterfinals in January 2009.[37]


Kanti Schaffhausen was unable to achieve their first championship being defeated by Volley Köniz, after Kope suffered a season-ending injury that her club could not overcome, winning anyway the Swiss cup.[38] When she returned from Switzerland, she was called to the national team who was scheduled to play the 2010 FIVB World Championship NORCECA qualification tournament with lack of warm up games.[39] The only warn up was the Pan-American Cup[39] were her team ranked eight after only advancing to the 5-8 position round after the pool play,[40] and losing to Argentina[41] and Canada.[42] After the Pan American Cup, her national team traveled to Orlando, Florida to play the 2010 FIVB World Championship NORCECA qualification tournament.


Cope signed with the Puerto Rican club Valencianas de Juncos as the first Costa Rican to play in the Puerto Rican League.[43] Besides the support she gave for the team along the season,[44][45][46][47] she was released on 27 February 2012[48] when her team was in eighth place to make room for the American Blair Brown.[49] She then returned to Costa Rica to play with San José Bio Gel[6][50] winning her second Costa Rican championship, the Opening Tournament.[51] She then traveled to Mexico to play the NORCECA Olympic qualification and her team reached the quarterfinals,[52] but only managed to claim the sixth place, not qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics.[53]

In July she played the Pan-American Cup and after losing to Canada in the 5-8 qualification round,[54] her team only ranked in the ninth place.[55] But she later found herself with an unknown injury that kept her out of the court.[51] But in December, she played the Costa Rican Closing tournament with San José Bio Gel, leading the team to their second straight championship[56] being awarded Most Valuable player.[57] She dedicated that triumph to her deceased mother and confessed that she was planning to share her time either to play indoor volleyball abroad with an attractive contract or a new career in beach volleyball and study veterinary medicine.[56]


She won the Central American Beach Volleyball from the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, beating Guatemalans Maria Jose Orellana and Maria Andrea Orellana.[58] In March they were announced as one of the 48 teams that were going to compete in the World Championship,[59] as the first ever Costa Rican representatives in the World Championship.[60] With this joy, they won in April the Costa Rican Beach Volleyball national championship for the second time.[61] She then played the Cayman Islands stop from the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour, finishing in the fifth place.[62]

In June, she played the Ocean City stop of the National Beach Volleyball League in the United States, with the Costa Rica Olympic Committee backup,[60] winning the bronze medal and using this tournament to improve the blocking and the service effectiveness.[63] Playing in Puerto Cortés, Honduras, Cope and Alfaro claimed the Central American Championship.[64]

Playing in the 2015 Beach Volleyball World Championships, in their first match, they lost 0-2 to the German representatives,[65] 0-2 to the Slovakians,[66] and finally 1-2 to the Poland team.[67] After her participation, Cope defined playing with the score and improve the closing as the key points for their next competitions and also thanked the support and motivation from Costa Rica during the World Championship.[68]

She then traveled to Toronto, Canada to play the 2015 Pan American Games, beating the Chileans 2-1,[69] before an easy 30 minutes win 2-0 to the Nicaraguans,[70] and finished the pool play with a 1-2 lost to the Brazilian team.[71] They defeated 2-0 to the Mexicans in the elimination round[72] but lost 0-2 in the quarterfinals round to the Canadians,[73] and 0-2 the Colombian Galindo sisters[74] and ending their Pan American Games participation in the eighth place when they lost 0-2 to Uruguay.[75]

In October she won the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour silver medal in Saint Lucia when she lost 0-3 to the Americans Irene Hester and Caitlin Ledoux the gold medal match.[76]


The Costa Rican Institute for Sports and Recreation granted Kope a C$1,500,000 (Costa Rican Colones)—approximately US$2,830 in March 2016— annual scholarship.[77]

Togegther with Marcela Araya and Valeria Valenciano the duo of Alfaro and Cope qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics by winning the NORCECA Continental Cup, first time ever in beach volleyball for their home country.[78] The knowledge of each other and a solid friendship was the foundation to achieve the Olympic berth,[79] she also defined that moment as the result of teamwork and achieving the highest point in her sport career.[80] The team was one of 10 Costa Rica representatives to the games.[81] They lost their first match 0-2 to Australia,[82] 0-2 to Netherlands in the second match.[83]


  • Sweden Engelholm VS (2006-2007)
  • Costa Rica Universidad de Costa Rica (2007)
  • Switzerland Kanti Schaffhausen (2007-2009)
  • Austria SVS Post Schwechat (2009-2010)
  • Costa Rica Universidad de Costa Rica (2010)
  • Chile Boston College (2011)
  • Puerto Rico Valencianas de Juncos (2012)
  • Costa Rica San José Bio Gel (2012)



  • 2011 Chilean League "Best Spiker"
  • 2012 Costa Rican League "Most Valuable Player"


  • 2006-07 Swedish League - Gorm silver cup.jpg Runner-Up, with Engelholm VS
  • 2007-08 Swiss League - Gorm silver cup.jpg Runner-Up, with Kanti Schaffhausen
  • 2008 Swiss Supercup - Simple cup icon.svg Champion, with Kanti Schaffhausen
  • 2008-09 Swiss League - Gorm silver cup.jpg Runner-Up, with Kanti Schaffhausen
  • 2008-09 Swiss Cup - Simple cup icon.svg Champion, with Kanti Schaffhausen
  • 2010 Costa Rican League - Simple cup icon.svg Champion, with Universidad de Costa Rica
  • 2011 Chilean League Super-4 - Simple cup icon.svg Champion, with Boston College
  • 2012 Costa Rican League - Simple cup icon.svg Champion, with San José Bio Gel


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  22. ^ Barrantes, Francisco (2006-11-08). "Karen Cope irá a jugar a Suecia" [Karen Cope will play in Sweden]. La Nacion (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-06-15.
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  56. ^ a b Rodríguez López, Rodolfo (2012-12-24). "Los remates de Karen Cope son misiles" [Karen Cope's spikes are missiles] (in Spanish). Al Dia. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  57. ^ Gomez, Vanessa (2013-02-19). "Karen Cope quiere lucir también en playa" [Karen Cope also wants to look at the beach]. Al Dia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  58. ^ "Cope and Alfaro lead Costa Rica to victory in Central America". San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: FIVB. 2015-02-15. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  59. ^ Tayver, Fanny (2015-03-20). "Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro jugarán el Mundial de Voleibol de Playa en Holanda" [Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro will play the Beach Volleyball World Championship in the Netherlands] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  60. ^ a b "Ticas ya tienen rival en el Mundial de Holanda" [Ticas already know their rivals in the Netherlands World Championship] (in Spanish). Deporticos. 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  61. ^ Tayver, Fanny (2015-04-20). "Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro son las bicampeonas del voleibol de playa" [Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro are the beach volleyball champions] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  62. ^ "Ticos alcanzaron los cuartos de final en Caimán" [Ticos reached the quarterfinals in Cayman] (in Spanish). Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands: Deporticos. 2015-04-26. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  63. ^ "Karen y Natalia terceras en Liga Norteamericana" [Karen and Natalia third in North American League] (in Spanish). Ocean City, Maryland: AFECAVOL. 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  64. ^ Quesada C., Eliseo (2015-06-14). "Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro campeonas centroamericanas de voleibol de playa" [Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro Central American beach volleyball champions] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  65. ^ Castillo Robinson, David (2015-06-28). "Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro debutan con derrota ante Alemania en Mundial de Voleibol de Playa" [Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro debuts with defeat against Germany in World Beach Volleyball] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  66. ^ Castillo Robinson, David (2015-06-29). "Costa Rica cae 2-0 ante Eslovaquia en Mundial Femenino de Voleibol de Playa" [Costa Rica fell 2-0 to Slovakia in Women's World Beach Volleyball] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
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  68. ^ Rodriguez Campos, Juan Pablo (2015-07-07). "Voleibol de playa deja gratas impresiones al finalizar el mundial Holanda 2015" [Ticas say goodbye to the World Beach Volleyball] (in Spanish). Semanario Universidad. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  69. ^ Tayver, Fanny (2015-07-14). "Ticas Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro consiguen primer triunfo en los Juegos Panamericanos" [Ticas Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro get first win at the Pan American Games] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  70. ^ Villareal, Juan Diego (2015-07-14). "Selección Femenina de voleibol de playa de Costa Rica venció a Nicaragua en 30 minutos" [Costa Rica Women's Beach Volleyball National Team beat Nicaragua in 30 minutes] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  71. ^ "México entre los clasificados a cuartos de final en voleibol de playa" [Mexico among the qualifiers to the quarterfinals in beach volleyball] (in Spanish). Toronto, Canada: Terra. Notimex. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  72. ^ "Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro avanzan contundentes en Toronto" [Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro strong advance in Toronto] (in Spanish). Toronto: AFECAVOL. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  73. ^ "Cope y Natalia buscan finalizar quintas en Toronto" [Cope and Natalia seek to finish fifth in Toronto] (in Spanish). Toronto: AFECAVOL. 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  74. ^ "Colombia and United States to battle for fifth place". Toronto, Canada: NORCECA. 2015-07-20. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  75. ^ Naranjo, Julio (2015-07-21). "Uruguay fue séptimo en beach Volley" [Uruguay was seventh in beach volleyball] (in Spanish). Ovacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  76. ^ Naranjo, Julio (2015-06-14). "Karen Cope y Natalia Alfaro ganan medalla de plata en la sexta fecha del NORCECA" [Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro won the silver medal in the sixth stop of NORCECA] (in Spanish). Teletica. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  77. ^ Sanabria, Francisco (2016-03-17). "Icoder concede ¢200 millones en becas para deportistas" [Icoder grants ¢ 200 million in scholarships for athletes] (in Spanish). Prensa Libre. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  78. ^ Villareal, Juan Diego (2016-06-26). "Voleibol de playa femenino clasifica por primera vez a los Juegos Olímpicos" [Women beach volleyball qualified for the first time to the Olympics] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  79. ^ Masis, Fiorella (2016-06-28). "Natalia Alfaro encontró en Karen Cope el complemento perfecto para llegar a Río 2016" [Natalia Alfaro Karen Cope found the perfect complement to reach Rio 2016] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  80. ^ Brenes, Luis Carlos (2016-08-01). "Karen Cope, pieza fundamental del voleibol de playa tico en Rio" [Karen Cope, a key part in tico beach volleyball in Rio] (in Spanish). Sports By Campbell. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  81. ^ "Andrey Amador y Nery Brenes encabezan delegación de Costa Rica para Río 2016" [Andrey Amador and Nery Brenes of Costa Rica lead delegation for Rio 2016] (in Spanish). San Jose: El Pais. EFE. 2016-07-12. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  82. ^ Tayver, Fanny (2016-08-06). "Natalia Alfaro y Karen Cope pierden su primer partido en el voleibol de playa de los Juegos Olímpicos" [Natalia Alfaro and Karen Cope lost their first game at the beach volleyball Olympic Games] (in Spanish). Nacion. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  83. ^ Naranjo, Julio (2016-08-08). "Natalia Alfaro y Karen Cope pierden ante Holanda su segundo juego en Río 2016" [Natalia Alfaro and Karen Cope lost their second game against the Netherlands in Rio 2016] (in Spanish). Teletica. Retrieved 2016-08-09.

External links[edit]