Wednesday , May 29 2024

Costa Rican women’s football & beach soccer goes from strength to strength!

The Costa Rican Football Federation (FCRF) took a significant step forward in the development of its sporting infrastructure on Tuesday, April 23, when it opened two new key facilities at its technical centre.

Funded by the FIFA Forward Development Programme, the project is a landmark in the development of women’s football and beach soccer in the country and comprises one multi-functional building for use by the women’s national teams and another housing beach soccer changing rooms. These new state-of-the-art facilities are an improvement on those used by the players’ male counterparts.

Attending the event were the Costa Rican Minister for Sport, Royner Mora, the Minister for the Status of Women, Cindy Quesada, and executives from FIFA’s regional office in Panama, José Rodríguez and Derek Canavaggio. Representing the FCRF were Secretary General Rafael Vargas, Director of Sport Claudio Vivas, members of its management committee, coaching staff, and men’s and women’s national team players.

Speaking at the ceremony, FCRF President Osael Maroto Martínez said: “We’re proud to have completed the buildings that we’re opening today, because they mark the culmination of a plan that was put together with the aim of creating a complex to host and house all of Costa Rica’s national teams. This is now the true home of our national teams and it meets all of our sporting and administrative needs.”

Up to now, the complex has largely been used by the country’s men’s teams, and comprises two changing rooms for natural grass pitches, a building for use by men’s national youth teams, training rooms, coaching staff offices, and accommodation.

This new project brings the concept of gender equality to the complex, however, with Costa Rica’s women’s youth players receiving the same home comforts as the men’s youth teams. As well as also providing facilities for the country’s beach soccer teams, the complex will now operate as a base supporting clubs competing in the national beach soccer league.

Development of sporting infrastructure in Costa Rica

“From its design and inception, the centre has been a symbol of the national association’s perseverance, determination and planning,” said FIFA regional office chief Rodríguez.

“The FCRF has devoted a lot of time and energy in developing a complex that offers high standards in terms of functionality and quality,” he added. “It is a benchmark for the region and the world.

“The facility that we’re opening today forms part of an extensive project in which the FCRF has invested more than USD 1.5m from its FIFA Forward funds, with the rest having been generated by the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup it hosted.”

The decision to expand and upgrade the complex was made in response to the growing demand for better and more inclusive facilities. The complex is in constant use, hosting training sessions for various age groups and levels of competition, from U-15s through to the men’s and women’s national teams.

It also responds to the needs of domestic and foreign clubs and visiting teams, all of which has put a strain on existing resources. The need for suitable facilities to host anything from national trials and referee training to regular beach soccer training sessions had become pressing to say the least.

The newly opened women’s building boasts an impressive floor area of 725.31 m2 and dormitories for players, referees’ changing rooms, medical rooms, a training room and extensive storage space.

Standing adjacent to it, the beach soccer building has a floor area of 294.96 m2 and has a number of changing rooms, a public health facility and storage rooms. The building is situated right next to the beach soccer pitch and provides an upgrade that serves the training needs of the national team and the national league, with up to ten matches a week being staged at the complex.

“The FIFA Forward funds have been crucial to the development of the facility that we have the privilege to unveil today,” added Maroto.

“Not only have we received significant financial funding from FIFA Forward, but also consultancy services and ongoing support from the FIFA regional office, which, together with the efforts of the FCRF’s teams, has ensured the success of the project. This story does not end here, however.

“The FCRF would like to restate its commitment to growth and improvement. We’re determined to give our national teams the best possible conditions because they deserve it, as does Costa Rica. Together, we will continue to advance towards the future.”

With this latest addition to its sporting infrastructure, Costa Rica is doing more than raising the standard of its national teams – it is setting an example in the Concacaf region for investing in gender-inclusive facilities, encouraging other countries to follow its lead. Now that the ribbon has been cut, it is clear that these are no ordinary buildings. They are a base camp for Costa Rica’s future champions.

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