Meet My Hometown Team: Liga Deportiva Alajuelense

In Costa Rica’s first division there are three dominant teams: Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, Deportivo Saprissa, and Club Sport Herediano. I would like to take this time to discuss my favorite team, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.

 

At the very beginning of Alajuelense’s history there were two teams that played in Alajuela City: Once de Abril and Electra.  In 1919 they merged to form Liga Deportivo Alajuelense. The name roughly translates to the Sporting League of Alajuela. Alajuelense’s mascot is a lion, and a result one of the team’s nicknames is “Los Leones”. Other team nicknames include: Los Manudos = the big handed people, Rojinegros = Red and Blacks, Los Erisos = the Hedgehogs (a nickname for those from the Alajuela Province), and lastly La Liga = The League.

 

Stadia:

Originally all of the league’s fixtures took place at the National Stadium. Alajuelense were the first club to move out. In 1938 the board of directors suggested a location for the new stadium on a plot of land in Alajuela. In 1942 the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto hosted its first Alajuelense match. The stadium was given its name in 1961 as a tribute to club legend Alejandro “El Mago” Morera Soto.

 

Rivalries:

El Clásico Costarricense 

Alajuelense’s most important fixtures are are against Deportivo Saprissa. Similar to when FC Barcelona and Real Madrid play each other these matches are referred to as El Clásico. These matches are especially important because ~90% of the population supports these clubs, with the divide being about equal among that 90%.

 

“El Derbi Alajuelense”

Alajuelense also has an intense rivalry with its inner-city neighbors Associación Deportiva Carmelita. An intriguing aspect of this rivalry is that the two teams not only share a city, but a stadium as well until this season when they moved out.

 

Clásico Provincial

There are two Clásicos Provinciales: one with Cartago, and another with Heredia, but the latter is more of a rivalry. Club Sport Herediano and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense are the only teams in Costa Rican soccer history that haven’t been relegated even once. Herediano has purchased many players from Alajuelense recently, and as a result there are times where the games get heated. When Victor “El Mambo” Nuñes plays against Alajuelense he generally plays with what many consider to be more passion and desire than normal. A sign of a vendetta he has against Alajuelense for releasing him after a long run of being relatively unproductive.

 

With Cartago it is seen as an average game due to Cartago’s inability to win any national titles in the majority of the last century.

 

Notable Alajuelense Players:

  • Alejandro “El Mago” Morera Soto
  • Óscar “El Machillo” Ramirez Hernandez
  • Rolando Fonseca Jímenez
  • Álvarado Mesén Murillo
  • Pablo Antonio Daniel Gabas
  • Pablo Alejandro Izaguirre
  • Wílmer “El Pato” López Arguedas
  • Luis Javier “El Sherrif” Delgado Prado
  • Mauricio Antonio de la Trinidad “El Chunche” Monterro Chinchilla
  • Luis Antonio Marín Murillo
  • Patrick Alberto Pemberton Bernard
  • Jonathan André McDonald Porras

 

Accolades:

  • 29 Costa Rican FPD titles
  • 2 CONCACAF Champions League titles
  • 1 Copa Interamericana title
  • 3 UNCAF Interclub Cup titles

 

Alajuelense’s mascots.

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