Costa Rica’s Valverde receives FIFA Order of Merit

Maria Elena Valverde Coto (center) receives the FIFA Order of Merit from FIFA President Joseph Blatter (left) and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb on June 10, 2014 in Sao Paulo. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Former Costa Rica national team player Maria Elena Valverde Coto was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit on Tuesday for her decades of service to the women's game.

The honor was presented by FIFA President Joseph Blatter and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb during a ceremony at the Opening of the 64th FIFA Congress in São Paulo

Valverde, a true football pioneer, is best known for organizing the first women’s national team in Latin America and playing in the first official women’s club match in Costa Rica on March 26, 1950.

At 86-years-old, she continues to promote women's football in Costa Rica.