Costa Rican amputee soccer team dreams of playing for world title

For each of Costa Rica’s 15 amputee soccer players, having one boot too many has become their hope of earning the money they need to travel to Mexico this month to compete in the Amputee Soccer World Cup. EFE-EPA/File

By Maria Jose Brenes.

San Jose, Oct 15 (efe-epa).- Having one boot too many for each of Costa Rica’s 15 amputee soccer players has become their hope of earning the money they need to travel to Mexico this month to compete in the Amputee Soccer World Cup.

“One boot too many” is a campaign with which the amputee soccer squad promotes the sale of soccer boots left over because of the limbs they lack – at the collector’s price of $1,500 each – to be able to pay for the transport and expenses needed to represent Costa Rica in the World Cup.

“There came a time when we had to decide not to go,” Gustavo Molina, a 33-year-old midfielder, told EFE.

Every time Molina buys as pair of cleated soccer boots he has to throw one away, since a traffic accident in 2009 cost him a leg.

He along with another 14 teammates are now concentrated on making enough cash from their idle leftover shoes to help pay for the trip and play for the amputee world title in Mexico, for which they have qualified.

“We need money, and there’s no greater motivation that the possibility of playing in the World Cup. We’re going to give it our all,” Victor Mendoza, a 38-year-old winger, said.

In 2010, Mendoza had a traffic accident on his motorcycle, in which he lost a limb.

The soccer boot, awarded as a trophy in a glass case with the player’s biography, is priced as a collector’s item and tells a story of the courage, perseverance and discipline of someone doing everything to play in the Amputee World Cup, and for that reason asks for help in paying the expenses of the trip.

The players have been training intensely for the event since last April, to be held in Mexico starting Oct. 24.

They all have jobs, so they do their team practice on Saturdays and Sundays, while during the week they use their free time for training their individual skills. mjb/cd