Costa Rica's Karla Villalobos (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Korea Republic in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – At 30-years-young, it can be said that Costa Rica international Karla Villalobos is experiencing the most successful phase of her career. In September, the talented forward captured the 2016 Costa Rican Apertura title with AD Moravia, just months after winning the first-ever Central American club championship. She earned her first cap during the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and, in this year’s edition of that competition, netted three goals in a win over Puerto Rico. Villalobos, who also scored a late equalizer against Korea Republic in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, spent time talking to CONCACAF.com about her life in football.
How many seasons have you been with Moravia?
I have been here two seasons. I arrived to the club in 2015 and played the 2015 Apertura and 2016 Clausura with the team.
Where did you play previously?
I spent seven years with Arenal Coronado and a season with Herediano.
Last month, Moravia won the 2016 Costa Rican Apertura title. What does that achievement mean to you?
It means a lot. It means that we showed that we have a strong team and that women’s football is growing in our country.
How would you describe the reaction of the club's fans to winning the championship?
The reaction was very nice because the team emerged as champion for the first time. There were 3,000 people in the stadium, so for us it was important to win. It was another example of the growth of women’s football here in Costa Rica.
What are the other factors that are contributing to the growth of women’s football in Costa Rica?
The role of the 2015 Women’s World Cup was important. Also, there is more support from the media and the public. It is a more competitive football. The matches are intense, back and forth.
What were the reasons for Moravia’s success?
First, the work. Also, we were focused on winning. After becoming champion of UNCAF (Central American Football Union), we had to continue and maintain that winning form.
That’s right, Moravia also won the inaugural UNCAF Women’s Inter-Club Championship in May. How do you put that championship into historical perspective?
It was very important. The tournament was played for the first time and the effort we gave to be champion was massive. It was also important for Costa Rica. For the team, it is motivating to compete in international tournaments.
What is the biggest adjustment you have to make when going between international and domestic football?
The feeling of work is stronger. It is a higher level. It is little bit harder because of the training.
What does representing Costa Rica mean to you?
It is always an honor to be called. One trains to be there. It is a privilege, but you always have to work in order to continue being part of the team.
What motivates you as a player every day?
To be a goalscorer…to be a historic goalscorer. It is a motivation to continue winning, achieving things and maintaining a high level.
Away from the field, what do you like to do?
I like to go out, to go to the movies. The truth is that with football and work, I save time for rest.
What was biggest moment of your football career?
Playing in the World Cup (2015) and also what I am experiencing right now.
If you could play with any player (male or female), who would it be and why?
From the women's side, it would be my Costa Rica teammate Shirley Cruz. She has worked a lot for Costa Rica and is a great example for all of us. Of the men, Real Madrid’s Marcelo. I like how he plays. It gets my attention.
For young female players, why is it so important for them to play and enjoy football?
I have a small football school and I say to the girls that they should come to play with eagerness and to have fun…because they want to play. Now there is more support in women’s football and they can achieve their dreams, so it is important that you play because you like to play.