The USA will encounter an old archrival again after Costa Rica officially announced the new manager of their national team.
Former Mexican National Team boss Ricardo La Volpe signed on the dotted line Thursday to become the new head coach of los Ticos.
A World Cup champion with Argentina in 1978, La Volpe has always been a controversial figure for his outspoken ways. The longtime Mexican club manager and former Boca Juniors head coach will officially assume his post on Nov. 1.
“My work will be focused on achieving a single objective: qualifying for the World Cup,” La Volpe said at the press conference announcing his arrival. “But this does not only depend on me. Now the work begins.”
La Volpe will look to do what no previous manager has done: Survive World Cup Qualifying from start to finish and lead Costa Rica to Brazil 2014. When Costa Rica have qualified for past World Cups, they have done it with multiple managers along the way.
The Ticos were managed by three different coaches in the most recent 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, which ended at the hands of a stoppage-time goal by Chivas USA’s Jonathan Bornstein in the very final match against the US.
Chicago Fire left back Gonzalo Segares, a Costa Rica international, is hoping for continuity this time around.
“The good thing about it is that [the federation is] trying to have the same person for a long time,” Segares said. “But that’s hard, especially in Costa Rica, because there’s a lot of pressure from the media and the federation. There’s always a lot of pressure on winning, all the time.”
Costa Rica will compete in two other regional competitions before 2014 World Cup qualifying even kicks off. There is the Copa UNCAF (Central American championship) next January, which determines the qualifiers for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“It’s a good year to start the process, so [La Volpe] will have enough time to figure out soccer in Costa Rica because he doesn’t know the league or the country well,” said Segares.
The rumors linking La Volpe to Costa Rica began several weeks back and the negotiations were already far ahead before they hit a snag due to contractual clauses, which La Volpe needed more time to review.
Segares revealed to MLSsoccer.com that one of those clauses involved the option for Costa Rica to fire La Volpe if he were to lose three games in a row.
La Volpe was 1-2-1 against the US while at the helm of El Tri in Mexico, with the lone win coming at the Estadio Azteca during 2006 World Cup qualifying.