Costa Rica: Soccer and Service

Costa Rica: Soccer and Service

Travel as a team and play local soccer clubs in different communities. Start in Turrialba and contribute to an ongoing infrastructure community project before embarking on a whitewater rafting trip on the Pacuare River. Practice your Spanish, join pick-up soccer games, then play some competitive matches. Head into the mountains where you’ll stay with a Costa Rican family for a few days, participate in community development projects, and play several more soccer games. Wrap up your journey on the Pacific coast playing soccer on the beach or just enjoying the landscape.

Students love the homestays and lots of soccer matches

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Rustic Pathways Costa Rica Soccer Tours

As you explore Costa Rica on your soccer tour, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s soccer culture while experiencing its natural beauty and vibrant communities. Whether you’re playing competitive matches against local teams or enjoying pick-up games on the beach, your trip will be an unforgettable journey filled with soccer, adventure, and camaraderie.

Experience the Thrill of the Game

Bring your A-game during competitive indoor and outdoor soccer matches against village teams and local clubs while practicing your Spanish. Engage in exhilarating matches that test your skills and teamwork, as you face off against passionate opponents in spirited games filled with energy and excitement.

Adventure Beyond the Pitch

Raft the whitewater rapids of the world-famous Pacuare River, an adventure that promises thrills and unforgettable moments. Experience the rush of navigating turbulent waters surrounded by lush rainforest scenery, as expert guides lead you through exhilarating rapids and tranquil stretches of river.

Explore Natural Wonders

Visit an active volcano and marvel at the raw power and beauty of nature as you explore the Arenal Volcano region. Witness the majestic sight of molten lava flowing down the mountainside, a spectacular display of volcanic activity that captivates the imagination.

Relaxation and Recreation

Relax on the pristine beaches of the Pacific coast, where sun, sand, and surf await. Spend leisurely days soaking up the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and exploring the coastline’s hidden coves and secluded beaches.

Connect Through Costa Rica Soccer

Travel as a team and play against local soccer clubs in different communities, forging connections with players from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Experience the camaraderie and sportsmanship that transcend language barriers, as you bond with fellow athletes over your shared love of the game.

Make a Difference

Contribute to an ongoing service project, making a positive impact in the communities you visit and leaving a lasting legacy of teamwork and collaboration. Share your passion for soccer with local youth through coaching clinics and skills workshops, inspiring the next generation of players with your enthusiasm and expertise.

Costa Rica’s Soccer Culture

We know Costa Rica for its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity. But, it’s also famous for its passion for soccer. Costa Rica is the only Central American team to have played in multiple FIFA World Cups. As such, Costa Rica’s national soccer team holds a special place in the hearts of its people.

Professional Soccer in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s success in soccer is evident in its professional teams, such as Liga Deportiva Alajuelense and Deportivo Saprissa, which compete in the country’s top league, La Liga. Soccer is the most popular sport in Costa Rica. Matches draw large crowds and fervent support from fans.

Grassroots Soccer in Communities

The country’s love for soccer extends beyond the professional level to grassroots and community teams. Throughout Costa Rica, you’ll find soccer fields bustling with activity, as players of all ages and skill levels come together to play the beautiful game.

Soccer Hub: San José

The capital city, San Jose, is the epicenter of soccer in Costa Rica. The National Stadium in San Jose hosts important matches for the nation of Costa Rica, including those of the national team and club teams competing in international competitions.

La Sele: Costa Rica National Team

Costa Rica’s national team, often referred to as “La Sele,” has a rich history in international soccer. The team has competed in several FIFA World Cups, with its most successful campaign coming in 2014 when they reached the quarterfinals. This earned widespread acclaim for their impressive performance.


CONCACAF is the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football. It is the governing body for soccer in the region. It oversees various tournaments and competitions and plays a significant role in organizing international matches. CONCACAF has 41 members. Top rivals are the United States, Mexico, Canada, Panama, Jamaica, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Curaçao, Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala.

Costa Rica: Successful National Football Team

Costa Rica boasts the most successful national football team in Central America, with numerous accolades to its name. They have won three CONCACAF Championships and led the Copa Centroamericana tournament with four championships until 2017.

Costa Rica stands out as the only Central American team to have participated in six FIFA World Cup editions. Additionally, their national football team holds the record for the highest average Football Elo Ranking in Central America, standing at 1597.1, and the highest Football Elo Ranking ever achieved in the region, reaching 1806 in 2014.

Club Team Success in Costa Rica

In addition to the national team’s success, Costa Rica boasts a vibrant soccer culture at the club level. Club teams like Alajuelense and Saprissa have enjoyed success both domestically and in international competitions, making them some of the most popular and successful teams in Central America.

Year-Round Soccer Action

Soccer in Costa Rica is played year-round, with two main seasons: the summer season and the winter season. During these seasons, professional teams compete in league matches and various cup competitions, providing fans with plenty of opportunities to support their favorite teams.

Soccer: A National Pastime

The sport’s popularity extends beyond the professional level, with soccer being a favorite pastime for many Costa Ricans. Whether it’s playing in organized leagues or participating in pick-up games at local parks, soccer is ingrained in the fabric of Costa Rican society.

Soccer Unites Communities

From the streets of the city to the rural communities nestled in the mountains, soccer serves as a unifying force that brings people together regardless of their background. It’s not uncommon to see makeshift soccer fields in neighborhoods or children kicking a ball around in the countryside. Costa Rican teams embrace soccer, whether for fun, pride or at the association football level.

Passion and Pride

Costa Rica’s passion for soccer is evident in the pride and enthusiasm with which its people support their teams. Whether it’s cheering on the national team in a World Cup match or attending a local club game, soccer holds a special place in the hearts of Costa Ricans.

Program Profile
  • Country:
  • Department:
  • Duration:
    16 Days
  • Ages:
    14 and up
  • Cost:
    $4,995 plus Airfare
  • Service Hours:
  • At-A-Glance:

    Accomodation Amenities


    Educational Activities

    On-Program Travel

Program Profile
  • Country:
  • Department:
  • Duration:
    16 Days
  • Ages:
    14 and up
  • Cost:
    $4,995 plus Airfare
  • Service Hours:
  • At-A-Glance:

    Accomodation Amenities


    Educational Activities

    On-Program Travel

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:

Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Consider no checked bag. We strongly recommend that you consider packing only a carry-on size bag. This prevents your luggage getting lost or separated from you, keeps your bag manageable, and helps you be more mobile on your travel day.
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.


A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for daily activities and outings.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Photocopy of flight information
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Ear buds
  • Change of clothes
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Medication
  • Additional community service forms
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Consent to Travel Letter (for students under 19, recommended by the US State Dept but not required)
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
Main Luggage

A 40-50 liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.


  • Socks (8-10)
  • Soccer socks (3-4)
  • Underwear (12-14)
  • Pants/capris (2)
  • Long, loose-fitting shorts for service project work. Something that provides coverage and protection while keeping you cool.(2-3)
  • Long skirt (1)
  • Tank tops (5-6)
  • T-shirts (5-6)
  • Long sleeved shirt (1-2)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Quick dry towel
  • Beach towel/sarong
  • Rain jacket
  • Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
  • Sneakers
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat (for sun)
  • Soccer cleats
  • Shin guards
  • Indoor soccer shoes
  • Headlamp/flashlight


(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Oxybenzone-free sunscreen (reef-safe)
  • Biodegradable/natural bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Foam earplugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Razor/shaving cream
Important Reminders
  • *Community Service Appropriate Attire includes T-shirts and tank tops with no visible undergarments and shorts with a 3” or more inseam.
  • Don’t forget the Big Five:Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Bug spray, Rain jacket, Closed-toe shoes.