World Cup Qualifying

A closer look at Estadio Saprissa


The picture above isn't of a prison, or war camp, but of Estadio Saprissa.

We are about three hours from kickoff and I'll be providing coverage throughout the evening. For now, I wanted to give you all a glimpse of what Estadio Saprissa really looks like, so I took a trip down to the stadium earlier today to get some pictures of the place.

Here is a closer look at Estadio Saprissa:








What do you think of the pictures? Is Saprissa worse than you thought?

Share your thoughts below.

  • A. Ruiz

    They’re building an new national stadium already in CR. SO I dunno why everyone is bashing Vergara, well other than it’s fun to bash the owner of Chivas.

    Anyway, I wish an MLS team would build a version of this stadium somewhere in the middle of an urban neighborhood. Obviously, it would be kept up nicer and stuff, but I like how compact and intimate it is for a 25k seater.
    It reminds me of Wrigley in Chicago, sans paintjob.


  • tim

    it is hard to even know the stadium is there when visiting, it just comes out of nowhere. Also, the supporters section get the stands to bounce about 2 feet. Despite the looks, MLS would be lucky to have a stadium environment like saprissa. It doesn’t matter the game, they rock that stadium. (I have visited several times).


  • GRP

    Trust me, it’s not that bad — forget the prison comparisons. I attended CR v. El Salvador there last summer and even brought my kids, and we all had a blast.

    The neighborhood around the stadium isn’t great, but not all that different from many “stadium neighborhoods” worldwide. The roof leaks a lot so even covered seats are no guarantee of staying dry, but that’s a relatively minor complaint.

    Let’s not make too much of this — I think the USMNT needs to get this out of their head with a win, as the quality of the CR MNT (“La Sele”) is rather poor. The Ticos are wonderful people, but their football was dreadful that night — lots of long balls, choppy possession, etc.


  • rednow.red4ever

    Actually IIRC Ives has been to El Salvador, CR, and Azteca and Honduras I believe…possibly more…just to throw that out there…


  • scott

    sure it’s run down, that’s what makes it great. i say that as former exchange student in costa rica having been to many a game there. it will always have a special place in my heart as a saprissista. if you think it’s bad, go to a game at Fello Meza the home of Cartago- the Cubs of costa rican futbol. i showed up there and watched grown men piss in the moat around the field for the whole crowd to watch, priceless.


  • Eduardo

    Looks like a estádio de futebol.

    Sorry, Ives, but I can´t understand your post. Uncalled for.

    Prision, war camp? Like what? Guantanamo?


  • HomeyBoehme

    When I first saw the top picture on this post I thought to myself “wow, that looks like a prison”. I laughed out loud when I read what Ives wrote because he literally caught exactly what my first impression of the stadium was. I’m not sure why that is offensive to so many people. It just really is what the picture looks like.


  • BB in DC

    Well, the clumps of exposed rebar jutting out from Saprissa’s pillars, that’s a craftmanship thing, not an income level thing, right? They just didn’t finish the job! But hey, anything for a home field advantage, I guess.


  • 4now

    To call Ives out on a misrepresentation is not to say that he is a racist, it is simply to hold him accountable.

    I have a great deal of respect for Ives, and this is one of my favorite blogs, which is why I take the time to be critical of it.

    If you some of you short-sited morons lack a critical capacity than, to be honest, go *u(k yourselves. Your missing the point.

    Ives is hard-working, and he has a great blog, but sometimes he is short-sited. Those of us taking the time to say something are doing so because we care.

    So, in less, high-horse fashion, let me say to all your morons, to go suck it.


  • Greg

    Thanks for the pics, since I have never been to S.A. I have not see this before and It’s good to have a site that shows us what the CR satdium is really like


  • JBeto

    We Costa Ricans LOVE to hear Americans cry about our facilities. It really is flattering that you guys go that far to make an excuse for losing a game. Not sure why the condition of the stadium really matter. Sure the facilities are bad, bottom line it is FIFA approved. Call it prison, war camp, whatever… I think ¨torture chamber¨ is more suitable name for US fans to call it.


  • Jon M. Roberts

    Hi Ives, first of all, Im a great fan of the USMNT I read blogs and news by the hour. I just think this post was completely bias and unnecessary, especially after thae fact that we got our “behinds” kicked! Yes, the pitch had some to do with it but, there is no reason to depict a stadium like you just did, not every country has the capability to build a new stadium like the Dallas Cowboys or even something similar to RSL’s . But they still played their heart out, while our guys could not even get a decent shot on goal. Im not surprised about the result, but I did expect more of a fight, that is easier said than done I truly to know that, but still it hurt to see us fall like that, and like always we fought to the last minute, especially the last fifteen we played like we should of have done the whole game even with the younger lads, Davies, Adu and Kljestan subbed in. But all in all, this blog was irrelevant, what ideas are you trying to ignite? The more blogs like this make your writing more and more similar to the ridiculous comments of Futbol Caliente on ESPN Deportes. You do not want to end up being compared to the likes of Faitelson, so really I do love your articles but this was a bit low, and unnecessary, lets focus on our players and what we have to offer. Again thanks for your writing, I’m a great fan and I share your MNT passion, the above is just a simple opinion, keep it the passion up and let us all hope the best for Saturday night! GO USA!!!


  • drock

    I’ve been to Estadio Saprissa in Costa Rica, seen the nice parts of San Jose and the not so nice neighborhoods. I’ve played soccer in the streets of Tejarcillos, a Nicaraguan ghetto of San Jose ,Costa Rica. Even Trained with a university team in CR and I can still say that Estadio Saprissa is still a dump. A lovable and serviceable dump, but yet still a dump, compared to American standards.

    I love Costa Rica, the REAL Costa Rica, it’s a great nation, their national stadium is just not the best they could do, SO they are building a new one and rightfully so.

    4now go back to listening to Air America and cleaning tables at Starbucks.


  • Jesse

    Looks like it’s about on par with Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula, Honduras where I live and where the US will be playing in a few months. The stadium is in slightly better condition here with the main difference being that the fans aren’t right on top of the field. The fences, crumbling concrete, and old chipping seats (in the sections where there are seats and not just concrete stairs) all look about the same.


  • Reid

    4now would you rather Ives gone with: if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.

    Nice to be one sided, where Ives has to follow that about the stadium but you don’t when resonding to others. Love it when a person talks out of both sides of their mouth.


  • Ceez

    Don’t fields have to be FIFA-approved to host an international match? How did that stadium even come close to being approved. That’s horrible!


  • 4now

    Hi Reid,

    I would have preferred if Ives was more imaginative and thought-provoking in the way he used the images.

    I think I explained this. If Ives wanted to use these images to make a point about stadium security in the developing world (e.g. the Ivory Coast tragedy) or historically (e.g. Hillsborough), that would be great in my book…

    If Ives wanted to use the photos to explore how less comforting conditions lead to a more intimidating atmosphere in order to explain why the US has failed to win in CR… than that would have been great.

    But to simply post pictures and make comparisons to prison camps and then ask, “what do you think? are you surprised?”

    Is to be unimaginative, lazy and sloppy in your journalism.

    Sometimes this is the trap that Ives falls in… and I think, as his first audience, we should hold him accountable and work to make him a better journalist by being critical.

    I really do respect Ives work and his blog. Which is why I take the time.

    I chose to talk down and be crude because that is where the conversation went, and I got the sense that is was the only way that some ‘mafia’ members would listen.

    I don’t think its talking out of of two sides, I think it’s a question of context, and responsibility.

    I’m not a journalist. And crapping all over one of you in something of a crude blogging shouting match is something different then being narrow-minded, ethnocentric and misrepresenting another nation.

    You don’t seem to get that Reid.

    And, by the way Drock, there is no one singular REAL Costa Rica – and American standards aren’t singular either. That’s the point.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I suppose I have to go back to my “Air America” and “Starbucks”, apparently.


  • Mike from linden

    looks like it could fall down at any minute. Really shocking to see. If Saprissa cares about their fans, they need to reinforce the beams to the stadium


  • Chase

    Some of you people need to get a grip. Ives was just exhibiting how big of a piece of crap this stadium is…


  • Over by dere

    Thats awesome! I love places like that. Too bad MLS stadiums dont have that kind of character. Id pull out the gradeschool desk chairs though. That way I could get more asses into the place.


  • Jose M. Quiros

    All games are over now 11:45 pm SatJune 6. It turns out that the U.S. team is at best mediocre, that the pitch and the stadia are of no consequence, that all that counts is how the teams play. What the U.S. needs is for Dr. K to go back to Germany and get a new batch of German-speaking African-American players, faster, leaner and less arrogant than the current batch. Good luck in retaining the second place in the second part of the CONCACAF eliminations. Little Costa Rica will try to do its best with young, lean and fast players even while playing in giant make-believe American football stadiums that are much too narrow and entirely too makeshift for real futbol. At least Costa Ricans know that what counts are who wins and not the insufferable arrogance of U.S. fans and sport “journalists”. Cheers.


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