• Saturday Aug 20, 2016

    Costa Rica emphasizes learning, development at CU15G

    Priscila Chinchilla (red jersey) has scored two goals for Costa Rica at the 2016 CONCACAF U-15 Girls' Championship in Orlando, Florida.

    ORLANDO, Florida – You only have to look at Costa Rica to pinpoint reasons why the CONCACAF U-15 Girls’ Championship is fast becoming a critical factor in the development of players across the region.

    The Ticas dropped a 5-0 decision to the United States on Friday in a semifinal that should be judged ultimately by the final result of a game between these same players 10 years from now; not one contested on a steamy morning at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

    After all, for many of the players from the Central American nation, the CU15G represents the first time they’ve traveled abroad -- never mind attempting to play seven games in less than two weeks.

    “Only three of the players had played in an international game,” Costa Rica head coach Amelia Valverde told CONCACAF.com. “Fifteen of the girls had never had such an experience and more than ten players had never traveled to another country. We have learned a lot. It (the CU15G) has been crucial in order to know where we are. We have learned to know where we are and where we are going. The girls will improve. We’ll improve by working hard. 

    “I mean, we cannot forget they are just girls. They are fifteen years old. They are in their sports formation process and we have to continue down a road…a learning and growing path, hopefully.”

    Heading into Sunday’s third place match against Mexico, Costa Rica has compiled an overall record of 3W-1D-2L. The only two losses came against the finalists, defending champion Canada and the USA.

    In one of the tournament’s most exciting games, the Costa Ricans rallied three times to draw 3-3 with El Salvador thanks to Maria Paula Salas’ three-goal performance. It was one of those match-ups that gave the Ticas the belief that they should never give up regardless of the score. The lessons learned were clearly evident against the U.S. as Costa Rica played just as hard at the end as it did at the opening whistle. 

    “It was a game that we knew would be very complicated,” remarked the 29-year-old Valverde, who also manages the senior side. “The United States is an opponent with a lot of experience. They played with a lot of high quality players. We knew that the small details would make a difference and that was the case. The girls managed to compete in many moments of the game. The most important is, first of all, to review the video and, secondly, we have to make clear that we have to continue on the path we are going and that the girls are gaining important experience.

    “For us, it is fundamental to go and compete, in the first place, and, then, no matter what, you need to fight until the end.”

    The CU15G concludes Sunday and you can be certain that -- win or lose against Mexico – Costa Rica will be standing tall.

    Valverde wouldn’t have it any other way.

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