As part of the Live Your Goals campaign, an initiative has been launched in Costa Rica to motivate girls across the country to take up the beautiful game and begin fulfilling their footballing dreams. The campaign kicked off on 23 June with an event that brought together more than 150 football-loving young women.

The captain of the Costa Rican women’s national team, Shirley Cruz, along with team-mate and goal-scorer Raquel Rodriguez, attended the event to motivate what could be some of the future stars of Costa Rican women’s football. The occasion not only marked the launch in Costa Rica of the Live Your Goals campaign, but also the official start of preparations for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014.  

The event took place on the pitches adjoining the Estadio Nacional and was attended by government officials, business representatives and household names from the world of Costa Rican football.

When I was a girl starting out, I’d have loved to have had the kind of opportunities available to Costa Rican girls today.

Costa Rica women's star Shirley Cruz

Eduardo Li, president of the Costa Rican Football Association had this to say on the initiative: "Live your Goals proves that dreams can come true regardless of the obstacles that stand in your way or the fact that people consider us a small country. Today we’re showing the world that we have the organisational and infrastructural potential to realize a dream of the Costa Rican people.”

The campaign, which has the support and participation of some of the country’s top women’s internationals, illustrates both the challenge and hard work that lie ahead.
The fundamentals
To make it to the top of the women’s game in Costa Rica, determination, enthusiasm and commitment are essential, as epitomised by national team captain Shirley Cruz. “I have to be honest and say that when I was a girl starting out, I’d have loved to have had the kind of opportunities available to Costa Rican girls today,” she told attendees. “Being able to count on the necessary infrastructure and resources to grow up with a good grasp of the basics of the women’s game is vitally important,” she added.

FIFA Women’s Football Development Manager, Mayrilian Cruz-Blanco, praised the efforts of the Costa Rican work-group and stressed the need for those present to keep up their efforts ahead of a tournament that would be Costa Rica’s opportunity to show itself off to the world. “The success of the FIFA Com-Unity Seminar is reflected today in this festival and the participation of so many girls. The programme is an opportunity for parents to support their children in the practice of football and to give them the chance to get ahead through the game. An example of all this is Shirley Cruz, who has had to make enormous efforts to get to where she is today,” said the FIFA official.

The inauguration of the Live Your Goals campaign marks the start of 16 footballing festivals set to take place the length and breadth of the country. At each event an estimated 200 girls between the ages of six and 12 are set to take part.

Every Costa Rican girl is invited to be part of the campaign and participate in the festivals. The dates for the Costa Rica Live Your Goals festivals are as follows:

San Jose - 23 June 2012
Guanacaste - 21 July 2012
Cartago - 4 August 2012
Limón - 25 August 2012
Alajuela - 2 December 2012
Puntarenas - 2 March 2013
Heredia - 13 April 2013
San Jose - 8 June 2013