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    Win or Lose: An Ode to the History of Football in Costa Rica

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – While it might seem that football has always been an integral part of Costa Rica, even this craze has humble beginnings…

     

    For he’s football crazy,

    He’s football mad,

    The football it has taken away,

    The little bit o’sense he had,

    And it would take a dozen servants,

    To wash his clothes and scrub,

    Since Paul became a member of that football club.  ~James Curran 1885

     

    That verse was written 129 years ago in Scotland, and there’s no sign of the football craze ceasing in any way. In fact, the football phenomenon has swept through every nation on the planet with ease, Costa Rica being no exemption of course!

    The first international fixture was held in Glasgow between Scotland and England in 1872, it ended 0-0, but no one really cared, the ball, literally had started to roll!

    Football as we know it penetrated every ‘class’, brains and brawn worked in unison which is true sometimes on the field of play.

    Edmund Wragge a English railway engineer, must certainly have planted a football seed around Christmas 1868, although his company ultimately lost the railway contract to the Americans.

    He attended Rossall School in Lancashire, a hotbed of ‘football madness’ if ever there was one, he must have observed games there?

    Incidentally ‘lawn tennis’ was invented there by a former pupil of the same school called Walter Wingfield but that as they say, is another story.

    Wragge wanted to run a railway line across the country, from Alajuela to Puerto Limon via San Jose on the Caribbean coast.

    Historically railways and football seem linked; most railway systems in the world were started by British engineers who’s workers played football. Obviously locals took note and copied what they saw, and they soon realised it wasn’t that difficult to beat them at their own game!

    Americans love of baseball swept Central America, however soccer was here to stay!

    C.S. Cartagines are Costa Rica’s oldest club having been formed in 1906.

    They are currently 12 teams in the Costa Rica premier league.

    Win, or lose in the next game of the World Cup will not really matter that much – it will of course – but, there’s nothing that can galvanize a nation like the beautiful game of football!

    The festival of Ampaza has come to pass…

    By Dave Marsden

     

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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