Costa Rica opens its wings to the world

The official ambassadors and the slogan for the next FIFA U-17 World Cup Costa Rica 2014 are now known. The Children’s Hospital in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, was the venue chosen for the important announcement, one further step in the build-up as the Central Americans prepare to host the tournament in less than four months’ time.

Costa Rica Football Federation president Eduardo Li, Hospital director Dr. Rodolfo Hernandez and Local Organising Committee (LOC) Executive Director Federico Rojas presided over the event, along with players and coaching staff from the hosts’ U-17 team and competition mascot Juna. Dozens of young patients from the hospital also attended with their families.

One of the event’s key points was the unveiling of the official slogan for Costa Rica 2014: 'Costa Rica abre sus alas al mundo' which means 'Costa Rica opens its wings to the world.' Chosen by the LOC, the slogan seeks to portray an image of hospitality to those participating in the competition.

A springboard for the future
Another significant moment was the announcement of the World Cup’s official ambassadors. Four famous and prestigious personalities in Costa Rican culture – model Leonora Jimenez, international footballers Shirley Cruz and Yeltsin Tejeda, and singer Tamela Hedstrom – will help in promoting the competition and will also attend matches to support all of the participating teams.

Leonora Jimenez is delighted with her role. “It’s an honour to be part of this event. That of great cost is also of great value and we, as ambassadors, will give our very best to help in the organisation of this World Cup,” she said. Deportivo Saprissa midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda, meanwhile, knows from personal experience that youth tournaments can act as launch pads to future successes, given that he himself played for Costa Rica’s U-20 team at Colombia 2011 and has now stepped up to the Ticos’ senior side.

For her part, singer Tamela Hedstrom was keen to focus on just what the U-17 World Cup means to Costa Rica. “How special it is that our country, however small, has the opportunity to host this great event and to dream big. It’s an honour for me to be part of this,” she said.

Shirley Cruz, who was unable to attend due to her commitments with Paris Saint-Germain, sent a video message which was broadcast at the end of the presentation. The other competition ambassadors for this U-17 World Cup, which will take place between March 15 and April 5 next year, then concluded the event by visiting the hospital installations and greeting the centre’s young patients.