Costa Rica U23s head to Florida for tournament

Luis Sequeira (red jersey) was called up to the Costa Rica under-23 national team for its participation in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic, February 18-28, 2015, in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo: Mexsport)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – The Costa Rica under-23 national team’s preparations ahead of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Football Tournament will intensify over the next 12 days thanks to its participation in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic.  The eight-team friendly tournament, which will be played February 18-28), includes clubs from the United States, Canada, Europe and Africa.

The Ticos are scheduled to square off against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union (February 18) and Columbus Crew SC (February 21), before facing Congo’s TP Mazembe (February 25) and closing with a placement match (February 28).

"We want to give them (the players) international football because, interestingly, there four players who are going on a plane for the first time,” said head coach Paulo Wanchope.  “It would be ideal to have these kind of experiences at the younger ages, so there are things that we have to work and deal with, all with a view toward the qualifiers.”

Though Costa Rica will be without the services of some foreign-based players and others with teams in the Costa Rican first division, Wanchope has called in four players with sides in the United States.  One of those is LA Galaxy forward Ariel Lassiter, whose father Roy was a former United States international and a standout in Costa Rica from 1992-96 with Turrialba, Carmelita and Alajuelense.

"He is an option that we are going to observe,” remarked Wanchope.  “I've only seen a video of him, but I know that he can play wide left and as a center forward, so the objective is to watch him closely in order to evaluate him.”



(IMG Suncoast Pro Classic: February 18-28, 2015)

GOALKEEPERS: Carlos Martinez Dittel (Saprissa), Daniel Zamora Alvarez (UCR)

DEFENDERS: Alvin Bennett Freckleton (Limon), Fernando Brenes Arrieta (Municipal Turrialba), Erick Cabalceta (Cartagines), Yosimar Clark Mayo (Limon), Mauricio Nuñez (Herediano), Bryan Espinoza Ramirez (Belen), Steve Garita Jimenez (Alajuelense), Jose Sosa Centeno (Uruguay) 

MIDFIELDERS: Juan Manuel Arguedas (Jacksonville University/USA), Mauricio Ayales Jop (AD Juventude Escazuceña), Jake Beckford Edwards (Limon), Irvin Calderón Reid (Saprissa), Giovannie Cantillano (Chorrillo FC/Panama), Randy Chirino Serrano (San Carlos), Dylan Flores Knowles (Uruguay), Josimar Pemberton Segura (Limon), Luis Sequeira Guerrero (Alajuelense), Marco Sunol (Carolina Dynamo/USA), Jesus Vargas (ADR Jicaral)

FORWARDS: Diego Campos (Clemson University/ USA), Kenneth Dixon McCoy (Santos de Guápiles), Ariel Lassiter (LA Galaxy/USA)