Liga Deportiva Alajuelense

Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (LDA, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈliɣa ðepoɾˈtiβa alaxweˈlense]), commonly known as Alajuelense and nicknamed La Liga (Spanish pronunciation: [la ˈliɣa]), is a Costa Rican multisport club based in the borough of El Llano, Alajuela, Alajuela province. Although they compete in a number of different sports, Alajuelense is mostly known for its association football team. It plays in the Primera División de Costa Rica, the top tier of the Costa Rican football league system. Alajuelense is one of two clubs to have never been relegated, along with Herediano.[1][2]

Liga Deportiva Alajuelense
Full nameAssociation Liga Deportiva Alajuelense
Nickname(s)Los Leones (The Lions),
La Liga (The League)
Manudos (Big-Handed)
FoundedJune 18, 1919; 104 years ago (1919-06-18)
GroundEstadio Alejandro Morera Soto
PresidentJoseph Joseph Saidy
Head coachAndrés Carevic
LeagueLiga Promerica
Clausura 2023
WebsiteClub website

Alajuelense was founded on the former Paris Hall, west of Alajuela's Central Park, on June 18, 1919, by six former players of a historic city club, Once de Abril, with the intention of uniting all the sportsmen and associations present at that time in Alajuela under a single banner. However, it wouldn't be until 1928 when Alajuelense managed to become national champions for the first time in a season that saw the club's first star: Alejandro Morera. Morera, who would later go on to become Barcelona's main striker for two seasons, is regarded as one of the finest players Costa Rica has ever produced. He would later manage Alajuelense to their second national title in 1939 as well as two others in 1941 and 1945. Since then, Alajuelense has become one of the most supported football clubs in Costa Rica.[3][4]

Alajuelense is one of the most successful teams in Costa Rica and Central America, having won 30 national championships, 2 CONCACAF Champions Cup titles, 1 CONCACAF League, 1 CONCACAF Central American Cup, and 3 UNCAF Interclub Cup. Alajuelense was the first Costa Rican club to win an official international competition when they defeated Suranamese club Transvaal in the final series in 1986. Alajuelense has also participated in the Interamerican Cup, Copa Merconorte, and Copa Sudamericana. In 1996, Alajuelense became the first club in the world to reach 100 points in any national league, finishing with a total of 102 points. This feat was repeated in 1998 and 2000 with 105 and 102 points gained, respectively.[5][4]

Alajuelense plays its home matches at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto. Alajuelense's home kit is composed of red and black vertical striped shirts, with black shorts, accompanied by red or black socks. This combination has been used since the club's foundation. Kelme are the kit manufacturers. Alajuelense holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably against Saprissa, Herediano, and Cartaginés. It has contributed many key and famous players towards Costa Rica's FIFA World Cup squads such as José Carlos Chaves, Óscar Ramírez, Mauricio Montero, Wilmer López, Luis Marín, Jhonny Acosta, and Patrick Pemberton.

History edit

The team was created in 1919 when a group of friends that used to play in a team called the "Electra" at first and then "Once de Abril" (April the 11th) met at "Salon París". They wanted to give the city a team that could represent them at a national level. They played their first official game on August 2 of that same year against Cartaginés getting their first victory, 3–1.[6][7]

Alejandro Morera Soto, most important idol of the club.[8]

Alajuelense was part of the 7 teams that built and formed the National League in Costa Rica, back in 1921, along with La Libertad, Gimnástica Española, Herediano, Cartaginés, CS Tres Rios de La Union, and Sociedad Gimnástica Limonense. They won their first championship in 1928. They are the only team to win the championship with a perfect record; in 1941 they won all 6 games.[9] In 1960, the team made a tour around the world, leaving Costa Rica on September 17. In 78 days, the team played 24 games, winning 12, losing seven and drawing five. They scored 71 goals and allowed 47, with a remarkable performance from Juan Ulloa Ramírez, the best player and top scorer of this tour.[10][11]

Throughout their history, Alajuelense has generated a lot of great players and stunning performances. They are known as one of the best teams in the Central America area. Their best decade was the 1990s, during which they won 4 Championships and 4 sub-championships (runner up) as well. In addition to that, by the end of the 90's and the middle of the 2000s, they won a total of 5 local championships (4 of them in a row), 2 Copa Interclubes UNCAF Trophies and a CONCACAF Club Championship, being the base for the Costa Rican football team in the Korea and Japan 2002 FIFA World Cup, with 9 players.

By November 11, 2000,[12] and after participating in the Copa Merconorte, Alajuelense was ranked 27th in IFFHS's Club World Ranking. It is the best rank any Central American club has reached.

The club struggled with financial and administrative problems in the second part on the 2000s decade, so they decided to end contract with a lot of their regular and known players and started to build a team based on their younger divisions and make some structural changes. Nowadays the club is free of debts and with a team averaging 25-year-old players is still one of the best teams in the area and one of the teams with most fans in Costa Rica. On June 10, 2019, the club celebrated its 100th anniversary, being the second Costa Rican team to do so.

On 2023, Alajuelense participated on the 2023 CONCACAF Central American Cup, and they would advance to quarter-finals after being leaders on the Group D. They would face Cartaginés, that they would defeat 6–1 on aggregate, advancing to semifinals, where they would face Herediano, defeating them 5–4 on penalties after a 4–4 aggregate tie. In the final, they would face Real Estelí, but they would defeat them easily after a 4–1 victory on aggregate, being the first champions of the CONCACAF Central American Cup.

Stadium edit

The Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto is the home of Alajuelense and is owned and operated by La Liga Deportiva Alajuelense. It is located in El Llano neighborhood of Alajuela.[13]

On July 20, 1966, due to a motion by the Municipality of Alajuela, the stadium was renamed in honor of Alejandro Morera, nicknamed el mago del balón, which means the magician of the ball. He was a notable former player of Alajuelense, Barcelona, and Hércules, and for commercial purposes, in an agreement with the financial institution Scotiabank in 2011, the name Scotiabank was added.[14]

Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto

The project to find a proper site for a permanent home started in 1938, when the director of the club, Carlos Bolaños, proposed that the club should purchase its own land. The land was purchased on October 7, 1940, but the terrain would not be football-ready until when the first game was played on January 18, 1942, when Alajuelense played against Cartaginés; the stadium only had a simple wooden stand that was previously used in the Estadio Nacional.[15]

On September 27, 1949, a professor from a local high school named Armando Morux Sancho started what was called La marcha del ladrillo, meaning The March of Bricks in which every student would donate a brick to help build the walls and stands of the stadium. The first stands to be built were located in north, west and east around the pitch.

On March 19, 1970, the stadium saw its first night game when Alajuelense faced Honduran club Motagua, beating them 4–1.

In 1979, the enlargement of the stadium was initiated with the project of building a second stand on top of the existing stand and adding an additional stand over the dressing and conference rooms (south) and also adding a roof to the stands located to the east and the south. The project was fully completed in 1984. The stadium was re-inaugurated that year along with the new illuminations, which were amongst the best illuminations systems at the time.[16]

On 8 April 2021, the team announced plans for a new stadium, with an expected opening by January 2025.[17]

Mascot edit

The team is now represented by a Lion dressed with the team uniform and wearing cleats as if he was going to play.

In every home game, the mascot comes out at the pitch before the game starts and plays on the field with fans, jokes with rival's fans, walk through the pitch with models giving away gifts from their sponsors and cheers the team with a huge team's flag. Before the game starts and during the half-time break, the Lion walks among the crowd and stands for pictures with the children.[18]

The original mascot used to be a Mango, this because the team is located in Alajuela that is known as "La Ciudad de los Mangos" ("The Mangoes' City") because of the high amount of Mango Trees that could be located in the province due its weather, but later on in the early 80's, the mascot was changed into a Lion.

The Lion was chosen years ago because it represents four main attributes of the major king of the jungle, that are reflected on the team's vision and mission: Courage, Strength, Dynamism and Fidelity.[19]

Sponsors edit

  • Jersey supplier
Manufacter Period Sponsor
  Jugados 1986–1996   Punto Rojo
  Nike 1996–1998   Mutual Alajuela
  Atletica 1998–2000
  Jugados 2000–2007   LG
  Puma 2008–2009
2010–2011  Sony
2012–2015   Movistar
2016   Movistar

  Banco General

2017   Claro


  Kelme 2018   Toyota




  Umbro 2024–present   Don Pedro


  Master Card

  BAC Credomatic

  • Jersey sponsors
KolbiTuasaRepretel – Cementos Fortaleza – ToyotaMobil

Honours edit

National edit

  • Primera División de Costa Rica[20]
  • Costa Rican Cup
  • Costa Rican Super Cup
    • Champion (2): 1967, 2012.
  • Costa Rican Short Championships
    • Champion (9): 1997-1998, 1999-2000, 2000–2001, 2002-2003, 1999-2000, 2000–2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2004–2005.
    • Runner-up (4): 2006-2007,1997-1998, 2005-2006, 2006-2007.
  • Friendly & other tournaments:
    • 2012, 2013: Copa Ibérico, against Saprissa2014, 2015: Super Clásico, against Saprissa1944, 1945: Torneos Relámpagos Fútbol

International edit

Performance in CONCACAF competitions edit