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Six Schwan’s USA CUP alumni instrumental in Costa Rica’s World Cup run

07/12/2014, 3:30pm CDT
By Isaac Haight, NSC Media Intern

The 2014 World Cup has captivated the hearts and minds of people across the world. Teams have brought joyous moments along with heartaches to viewers and fans.

One team that overachieved and has brought worldwide attention to their country with an unexpected run to the quarterfinals was Costa Rica, known to their fans as the “Ticos.”

Giancarlo Gonzalez from the Columbus Crew, played at Schwan's USA CUP as a youth

Coming from a group of world powerhouses such as Italy, England and Uruguay, few analysts and fans expected the Ticos to advance through the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. They not only advanced, but won their group.

Despite the World Cup being on a separate continent and Costa Rica being over 2,000 miles away from the Twin Cities, Schwan’s USA CUP can take some pride from Costa Rica’s big World Cup run. Six players on the World Cup squad in Brazil played in USA CUP as youth players.

The six USA CUP alumni who made the Costa Rica roster for the World Cup were: goalkeeper, Daniel Cambronero; defender, Johnny Acosta; defender, Giancarlo Gonzalez; defender, Michael Umana; midfielder, Celso Borges; midfielder, Christian Bolanos.

Nuria Pujol, who assists Costa Rican teams making the trip to Schwan’s USA CUP, said the players from the Costa Rican team gained tremendous experiences from their prior participation in USA CUP.

“USA CUP was good for them and they really enjoyed it,” Pujol said. “It gave them international exposure and motivation.”

Another aspect the tournament offered to them, outside of the players’ ability on the field, was responsibility according to Pujol.

“It taught them to be independent and not as close to their moms and dads, because they might not be able to go on their trips with them,” Pujol said. “This was their first trip out [of Costa Rica] so it made them a lot more independent and if they wanted to continue on that route.”

Pujol said USA CUP had a really positive impact and they still have those memories till this day.

“In terms of the USA CUP, they always remember USA CUP and it still has a presence in their lives,” Pujol said.

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Tag(s): July 12, 2014