Costa Rica hires Ricardo La Volpe

Updated: September 9, 2010, 3:39 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Costa Rica hired Ricardo La Volpe as its national soccer coach, giving the job to an Argentine who coached Mexico at the 2006 World Cup.

The country's soccer federation said he was to be introduced at a news conference Thursday.

Costa Rica played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and has been a force in Central American soccer. It failed, however, to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa and has fired two full-time coaches in the last year -- Rodrigo Kenton and Rene Simoes. The team has been handled recently by interim coach Ronald Gonzalez.

La Volpe coached Mexico to the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup, where the team lost to Argentina. La Volpe is expected to begin coaching Costa Rica in January and will be on the bench for next year's Copa Centroamericana, the regional championship.

La Volpe is known as an outspoken coach. He met with Costa Rican officials several weeks ago but reportedly balked at signing after disagreeing on compensation if he were fired. His salary is reported to be $50,000 a month.

Costa Rica was only 20 seconds from qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. The Ticos led the United States 2-1, a score that would have allowed them to advance. But the Americans scored in the closing seconds in stoppage time to salvage a draw.

The tie gave Honduras the third automatic qualifying spot. Costa Rica subsequently lost a playoff against Uruguay for the final spot in the 32-team World Cup.

Costa Rica had been first in its qualifying group early on, but three straight losses to Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador sent them tumbling and cost Kenton his job. Simoes was called in to coach the last three matches against Trinidad, the U.S. and Uruguay.


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