Former Costa Rica int’l Badilla passes away

Former Saprissa and Costa Rica star Gabriel Badilla (pictured) passed away on November 20, 2016. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Former Costa Rica international Gabriel Badilla passed away Sunday from suspected cardiac arrest while competing in the Lindora Run, an annual athletic event that consists of a 10K race and a half marathon.

The 32-year-old, who underwent open heart surgery in 2013, collapsed in close proximity to the finish line and could not be revived despite the prolonged efforts of medics.

Badilla’s professional career started in 2001 with Saprissa, where he won eight domestic titles and a pair of international crowns (2003 Copa Interclubes UNCAF, 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup).  He appeared in 276 Costa Rican league games and scored 18 goals.

With Costa Rica, Badilla earned 25 caps, playing in one FIFA World Cup (2006: 1 game/0 goals) and two  CONCACAF Gold Cups (2005: 1/0; 2007: 4/0).  He was also captain of the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Cup (4/0) squad that topped its group, before falling 2-0 to Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals.

Badilla played briefly for the New England Revolution (2008-10), ultimately retiring from football as a member of Saprissa on June 26, 2016, and remaining with the club in a marketing capacity.