Before moving to Maryland at the age of 12, NYCFC attacker Rodney Wallace spent his childhood in San Jose, Costa Rica. His career has since taken him all over the world, and New York is the latest stop on his jet-setting adventure across three continents.
When Rodney was six years old, his parents enrolled him in the academy of Universidad de Costa Rica, where he played until his move stateside.
Once he and his family were settled in Rockville, Maryland, he began playing for the youth ranks of D.C United before enrolling at the University of Maryland, where he would help the Terps win a national championship and an ACC title before leaving after his sophomore year to go pro.
"I got drafted by D.C. United, sixth overall pick, and it was a dream come true for me playing at home, basically," recalls Rodney of his early days as a professional.
"I was the kid from Maryland who made it to D.C. United, which was awesome. I was able to stay close to home and have my family and friends come out to the games."
Since then, he's won an MLS Cup, played in the Portuguese top flight, and spent a season in Brazil.
Over 300,000 people call Costa Rica's capital and largest city home. After being officially designated as the country's capital in 1823, San Jose has grown into Costa Rica's cultural, educational, and economic center, and one of the most influential cities in Central America.
San Jose becomes a bigger and bigger tourist destination every year, due to it being one of Central America's most safest and culturally dense cities. With several national museums, large green spaces, zoos, and theaters on offer, San Jose is one of the region's metropolitan capitals.
Famous folks from San Jose
San Jose has produced plenty of footballers, artists, and politicians. Arsenal's Joel Campbell hails from there, as do two former Costa Rican presidents and a former head of state. In the humanities, San Jose's Virginia Perez-Ratton was a fine artist who dedicated her life and career to developing artists in Central America and the Caribbean. She won humanitarian awards from all over the world and founded her own art center in San Jose in 1999.
Costa Rican Football
In terms of championships, LD Alajuelense's 29 titles are second only to Deportivo Saprissa's 33. Just behind them are Herediano, who have won 26 titles—20 more than the next highest. With Matarrita in their ranks, LDA won two league titles.
Saprissa and Alajuelense account for the league's biggest rivalry, dubbed El Clasico. They've played each other over 300 times and count five CONCACAF Champions Cup titles between them.
Costa Rica's national team has seen its fair share of success in recent years, making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and poised to qualify yet again for the 2018 edition. They qualified for their first-ever World Cup back in 1990, doing well enough to make it to the round of 16.
Costa Rica continually makes waves during the CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well, even though their last title came all the way back in 1989.
Join Rodney and his teammates at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Night... get your tickets below!