Johan Venegas (white jersey) is one of 23 players participating in a Costa Rica national team camp, January 18-20, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – Costa Rica opened a three-day training camp Monday, looking ahead to a 2016 campaign that will consist of at least four games in 2018 World Cup Qualifying and a minimum of three Copa America Centenario encounters.
Head coach Oscar Ramirez called in 23 players, including four with Major League Soccer squads: Waylon Francis (2015 MLS champion Columbus Crew), Johan Venegas (Impact de Montreal), plus Kendall Waston and Jordan Smith (both with 2015 Amway Canadian Championship winner Vancouver Whitecaps).
"There is plenty of space between each qualifying match and we need the players not to lose their rhythm or idea of play with the national team,” said Ramirez. “Thus, the initiative to resume training mini-camps.
"We are also taking advantage of the MLS off-season for some players. We want to see players that can be considered for future call-ups.”
The Ticos opened the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with wins over Haiti (1-0, home) and Panama (2-1, away). They resume play on March 25 at Jamaica.
GOALKEEPERS: Marco Madrigal (Santos de Guapiles), Leonel Moreira (Herediano), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)
DEFENDERS: Jhonny Acosta (Alajuelense), Kevin Fajardo (Cartagines), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew/USA), Ronald Matarrita (Alejuelense), Jose Mena (UCR), Roy Miller (Saprissa), Allan Miranda (Herediano), Jordan Smith (Vancouver Whitecaps/Canada), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps/Canada)
MIDFIELDERS: Junior Alvarado (Herediano), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Juan Bustos Golobio (Saprissa), Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Oscar Esteban Granados (Herediano), Diego Madrigal (Alajuelense), Mauricio Montero (UCR), Jose Sanchez (Herediano), Johan Venegas (Impact de Montreal/Canada)
FORWARDS: Josue Martinez (UCR), David Ramirez (Saprissa)