The history of Costa Rican soccer is as rich as any you’ll find across the Latin American landscape. The top tier of Costa Rican soccer, Liga FPD, was founded in 1921. Sadly I don’t have the time to tell you absolutely everything that’s happened since, but I can give you a quick overview. Here’s a look at the oldest, and perhaps most cursed, team in all of Costa Rica:
Club Sport Cartagines was founded in 1906. Being one of the seven original teams in Liga FPD’s inaugural season, Cartagines quickly formed three intense rivalries with Club Sport de los Artesanos, Club Sport Monte Libano, and Club El Combate. In May 1910 the club ceased operations for four years due to frequent seismic activities that hit the nation. Over the course of the years that followed Cartagines resumed operations and joined Liga FPD as a founding member along with six other teams: Alajuelense, Herediano, La Libertad, Sociedad Gimnástica Española, Sociedad Gimnástica Limonense, and La Unión de Tres Rios. Only two other founding members of Liga FPD remain active since the league’s inception: Alajuelense, Cartagines, and Herediano.
The most believable explanation behind the curse is that a doll was buried under the pitch during the stadium’s construction. Ever since then Cartago has not won domestic championship. The only intercontinental title the team has won since is the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in 1994. Cartagines haven’t had nearly as much success in their 112-year existence as one might imagine. They’ve managed only six (6!) total titles since they began play in 1906. Most recently they lifted the Costa Rican Cup as repeat champions in 2015. Prior to 2014, the last time they had won a title was 1994, and they haven’t been crowned league champions since 1940.
- Brumosos (the Foggers, The province of Cartago has the most amount of fog in the nation)
- Los Azules (The Blues)
- La Vieja Metropoli (The Old Metropolis, Cartago City was the capital of Costa Rica before San Jose)
Nowadays Cartagines barely have rivals; however, the teams that come closest to being considered rivals are Club Sport Herediano and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense. Although they have all been members of Costa Rica’s top division of soccer since the beginning, Cartago’s lack of success has left the rivalries short of expectation. Collectively, any games pitting two of the three against one another is considered a Clasíco Provincial since the three teams represent three of Costa Rica’s provincial capital cities.
Every team in the league played in the National Stadium until around the 1950s. In 1949 Cartagines moved to its current home in Cartago City, Estadio Jose Rafael “Fello” Meza Ivancovich.
- 3-time Costa Rican champions
- 1-time CONCACAF League Champion
- Jose Rafael “Fello” Meza Ivancovich
- Randall “El Chiqui” Brenes
- Michael Barrantes
- Michael Umaña
- Victor “El Mambo” Nuñes
- Pastor Fernández
- Christian Bolaños
- Erick Lionnis
- Hansell Araús
- Leonel Hernández