Kevin Masis (pictured) was called up to Costa Rica for the 2016 U-20 Men's NTC Invitational in Carson, California, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Although Costa Rica won’t host the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship until next year, the team is already hard working hard to prepare for the event.
There is a sense of urgency with the Ticos, especially since they hasn’t qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup since the 2011 edition. That stretch is far too long for the CONCACAF power and the objective is to change that trend.
As part of that rejuvenation process, Costa Rica will participate in the 2016 U-20 Men’s NTC Invitational, which is slated to be contested June 29-July 3 in Carson, California.
"Whenever we are going to participate in a tournament or play in warm-up matches or compete, we are in the pursuit of boys’ growth,” said head coach Marcelo Herrera. “It give us an idea of where we stand and whether we are incorporating these players who are far or near to having the level we need in order to have an international flight.”
The players’ development can also be measured by the clubs for the players compete.
"Growth has been very large and noticeable,” Herrera remarked. “In fact, when we arrived, there were no players in the first division and now 70% of our players are in the top flight. That is not important only for the national team, but also for clubs to make use of that prowess.”
At the NTC Invitational, Costa Rica will face the host USA (June 29), Japan (July 1) and Panama (July 3).
ROSTER (by club)
Alajuelense: Dario Alfaro, Eduardo Juarez, Luis Morales, Barlon Sequeira, Daniel Villegas
Belen: Esteban Espinoza, Jimmy Marin
Carmelita: Andres Vargas
Limon: Yostin Salinas
San Carlos: Roberto Cordoba
Santos: Pablo Airboin, Kevin Masis, Ariel Zapata
Saprissa: Alejandro Barrientos, Esteban Gonzalez, Marvin Loria, Ricardo Montenegro
Uruguay: Kevin Espinoza