Deportivo Saprissa

Deportivo Saprissa is a Costa Rican sports club, mostly known for its football team. The club is located in San Juan de Tibás, San José, and play their home games at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá. The team's signature colours are purple (burgundy) and white. The club was founded in 1935 and has competed in the Costa Rican first division since 1949. The name of the team comes from one of the club's main founders, Ricardo Saprissa. One of the most popular nicknames for the team El Monstruo Morado (The Purple Monster) can be traced back to 1987, when the Costa Rican newspaper Diario Extra gave the team the nickname during a derby, because of the club's enormous following. A reporter commented that the sea of fans in the stands at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá in Tibás wearing purple, and the tremendous noise they were generating, made him feel like he was "in the presence of a thousand headed monster". Saprissa immediately adopted the nickname El Monstruo Morado.

Full nameDeportivo Saprissa, SAD
Founded16 July 1935; 84 years ago
GroundEstadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá
OwnerHorizonte Morado
ChairmanJuan Carlos Rojas Callán
ManagerMauricio Wright (Interim)
LeagueLiga FPD
2019 AperturaLiga FPD, 2nd (semi-finals)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Saprissa won 36 Primera División de Costa Rica championships, including six consecutive national titles in the 70s. It stands as one of the more successful teams in the CONCACAF region as well, having won the CONCACAF Champions' Cup three times – in 1993, 1995, and 2005. Saprissa has also won five Central American crowns in 1972, 1973, 1978, 1998, and 2003.

For the period 1 September 2007 to 31 August 2008 the club was ranked the 106th best team in the world by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, an organization recognized by FIFA.[1]

Saprissa has regularly appeared in the CONCACAF Champions Cup finals in recent decades, with three first-place finishes and four runners-up finishes. One of the club's most notable moments came in 2005 when Saprissa became the second club in CONCACAF to finish third in the FIFA Club World Cup together with the Mexican club Necaxa who accomplished it in 2000 and were joined by two more Mexican clubs, in 2012 by C.F. Monterrey and in 2017 by C.F Pachuca.

The club was chosen by the IFFHS as the CONCACAF team of the 20th Century.[2] This event gave Saprissa worldwide recognition. Their main partner is a Costa Rican Investment Consortium named Horizonte Morado (Purple Horizon), composed mainly of Juan Carlos Rojas Callán, Edgar Zurcher, Alberto Raven Odio, and Televisora de Costa Rica.


Deportivo Saprissa was founded on July 16, 1935 by Roberto Fernández who named his team after the man who sponsored their uniform, Don Ricardo Saprissa Aymá. The club entered the Costa Rican Third Division as Saprissa F.C. They were promoted to the Primera División de Costa Rica, making their debut in the top flight on 21 August 1949. That year Saprissa actually won the first final match against Gimnástica Española with 0–3 score, then lost the away game by 6–2 to be defeated again 2–1 in a third game. They were accepted in 1st category as a favor granted by the administrative entity of that time. One of the most notable achievement of their early years, was to win the third and second division titles undefeated. The club has remained in the Costa Rican top flight ever since.

Recent events

In 2003, the majority of the club's stock was bought by Mexican entrepreneur Jorge Vergara, the owner of Mexican football club Club Deportivo Guadalajara[3] and soon after the operator of Major League Soccer club Club Deportivo Chivas USA in the United States.

Saprissa won the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup, beating Mexican club UNAM in the final over two legs, in May 2005. As CONCACAF club champions they qualified for the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship, held in Japan in December 2005. They beat Australian club Sydney FC in the quarter-finals thanks to a goal by Christian Bolaños. In the semi-finals they were beaten 3–0 by English club Liverpool, who were the Champions League holders that year, making it the strongest team in Europe. In the third place match they beat Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia 3–2. Álvaro Saborío scored two goals, and Rónald Gómez scored an astonishing free-kick final goal in the 89th minute to seal the win. They finished the competition in third place behind São Paulo of Brazil and Liverpool. Saborío was joint top scorer, and Bolaños was awarded the Bronze Ball by FIFA as third best player of the championship out of 5 teams.

Team colours

Even though the very first colours were red and white, the team is known by their purple-burgundy colour. Red and white were utilised very briefly, and Ricardo Saprissa's influence from the Polo Club of Barcelona had the team try red and blue instead, even though this is the origin of the colour used throughout all of its history. When the new kit for 1937 (red and blue) was being manufactured, some of the threads got mixed evenly along the sides of the jerseys, producing a type of purple, resembling a burgundy/maroon colour. This new colour went down well with everyone involved, it reflected class and originality, and it was selected as the team's official colour. It was decided that the team's shield would appear on the chest of the uniform, with a notable bold white letter "S".

Saprissa utilizes a purple/burgundy jersey with white and grey details, and white shorts with burgundy and grey details for home games. For away games, a white jersey with burgundy and grey details is used, and white shorts with burgundy and grey details.

Kit history

Jersey Suppliers

Manufacter Period Sponsor Notes
Atletica 1997 Coca-Cola
Adidas 1998–1999 LG
Jugados 2000–2003
Reebok 2004–2011 Bimbo
Joma 2012–2013
2014 Bimbo


Kappa 2015–2016
2017–present Bimbo




Saprissa Stadium packed before a Clasico
Fans of La Ultra Morada in La Cueva

Saprissa plays home games at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá named after Ricardo Saprissa. They originally played at the Costa Rica National Stadium, which they rented and shared.

A new site for a stadium was bought in 1965 and on 27 August 1972 after six years of construction and upgrades, Estadio Ricardo Saprissa was officially opened. The first match was between Deportivo Saprissa and Comunicaciones of Guatemala. The match ended in a 1–1 draw with Peter Sandoval of Comunicaciones scoring the first goal at the new stadium.

The stadium is called Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá, named after the founder of the club. There is a bust of Don Ricardo in one of the corners of the stadium. The stadium is also nicknamed La Cueva del Monstruo (The Monster's Cave/Lair) or La Cueva (The Lair), after the nickname of the club, El Monstruo Morado ("The Purple Monster"). It has a seating capacity of 24,000 and is overlooked by local mountains and downtown San Jose.

The stadium has great fame internationally, especially with all the national teams that play against Costa Rica.


La Ultra Morada (The Purple Ultra) is the club's most radical supporters group, even though it is not recognized as an official or formal part of the club. This group is always set on the south side of the stadium. La Ultra Morada is categorized as an "ultras group" or "ultras movement", being similar to what is more commonly known to outsiders as "hooligans"; even though members of La Ultra Morada, or simply La Ultra, emphasize their support for the club by creating a passionate atmosphere during matches. The group was the first Ultras group in Costa Rica, formed in 1995 when then-Saprissa president Enrique Artiñano brought fans from the Chilean football club Universidad Católica to help build a similar ultras group to their Los Cruzados for Saprissa. In the mid-to-late 1990s the Ultras began to develop the image of being football hooligans when violence began to break out with opposition fans during games. Due to the negative atmosphere and press coverage, Saprissa officials stepped in to restore order to a group that they had help create. The group is sub-divided in smaller groups called peñas. They maintain the style of a classic Ultras group, with chants, choreos[clarification needed], pyro shows (flares and gunpowder), abundant flags, giant banners, and the constant beat of an oversized bass drum.

There are, however, several different other supporter group that are legally recognized by the club. These groups occupy different zones in the stadium, and they are mainly groups that get organized with transportation, original merchandise, and massive displays for the team during a game (confetti, balloons, banners, flares, etc.)


The official mascot of the team is a cartoonish purple dragon, which was based on the Dragon Elliot[clarification needed], and similar to one from Dragontales[clarification needed] and many other dragons from children's shows. Because of this, many of the fans call the mascot Un monstruo amigable which means "a friendly monster". The mascot was meant to appeal to children in general, but it ended up being loved by the entirety of the fans. This caused it to be present in all kinds of paraphernalia and merchandise. It is the most recognizable and appreciated mascot in all the region. However, in early 2010, a new mascot was introduced. The mascot was designed in Mexico and many club supporters felt that it was a campy, superhero-like purple monster. As a result, the new mascot was highly rejected by the fans, claiming that "No queremos un dinosaurio super héroe, queremos al espíritu del equipo" (We don't want a super hero, we want the original spirit of the team). The new mascot was replaced immediately after the strong rejection, and the team now has a new mascot that resembles the original. The new costume was manufactured by Fernando Thiel, a widely recognized Argentina-born puppeteer who lives in Costa Rica.



1952, 1953, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, Invierno 2007, Verano 2008, Invierno 2008, 2010 Verano, 2014 Verano, 2014 Invierno, 2015 Invierno, 2016 Invierno, 2018 Clausura, 2020 Clausura, 2021 Clausura
  • Costa Rican Short Championships: 8
1997-98 Clausura, 1998–99 Apertura, 1998–99 Clausura, 2003–04 Apertura, 2005–06 Apertura, 2005–06 Clausura, 2006–07 Apertura, 2006–07 Clausura
  • Costa Rican Cup: 8
1950, 1960, 1963, 1963, 1970, 1972, 1976, 2013


Winners (3): 1993, 1995, 2005
Runners-up (2): 2004, 2008
Winners (1): 2019
Runners-up (1): 2020
Winners (5): 1972, 1973, 1978, 1998, 2003
Runners-up (7): 1971, 1974, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2007
Runners-up (2): 1993, 1995
  • CONCACAF Central American Champions: 1 appearance
Winners (1): 1970
  • US Camel Cup: 1 appearance
Winners (1): 1985
Third place (1): 2005
  • CONCACAF League Fair Play:
Winners (1): 2019

Performance in CONCACAF competitions

Records and statistics

Season Division Pts Pos Clausura championship Competition Result Competition Result
League CONCACAF Competitions Other
2004–05 Premier League 18 29 4th QF SF
2005–06 Premier League 13 42 1st W GS UNCAF cup R32

Player records


Current squad

As of 27 January 2021

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 MF  CRC Christian Bolaños
4 DF  CRC Kendall Waston
5 DF  ARG Esteban Espíndola
8 FW  CRC David Guzmán
10 MF  CRC Marvin Angulo
11 MF  CRC Michael Barrantes
12 DF  CRC Ricardo Blanco
13 GK  CRC Aarón Cruz
14 FW  CRC Ariel Rodríguez
15 MF  CRC Jonathan Martínez
18 FW  CRC Luis Stewart Pérez
20 MF  ARG Mariano Torres
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 MF  CRC Esteban Rodríguez
22 GK  CRC Alejandro Gómez
24 FW  CRC Orlando Sinclair
26 FW  CRC Daniel Colindres
29 DF  CRC Luis José Hernández
32 DF  CRC Alexánder Robinson
33 MF  CRC Jaylon Hadden
34 DF  CRC Walter Cortés
36 MF  CRC Jostin Tellería
39 FW  CRC Jordy Evans
41 FW  CRC Warren Madrigal
52 DF  TRI Aubrey David
80 MF  CRC Jimmy Marín

Non-playing staff

Name Role
Mauricio WrightHead Coach
Marco HerreraAssistant Coach
Pierluigi MoreraHead Athletic Trainer
Róger MoraGoalkeeping coach
Esteban CamposTeam Doctor

List of coaches

See also


  1. The last IFFHS World Club ranking of 16 January 2018 has the club in 250th place. "Club World Ranking Top 350 (1 September 2007 – 31 August 2008)". International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Retrieved 29 September 2008.
  2. "Central and North America's club of the Century". IFFHS official website. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  3. Jorge Vergara Rey Midas sin calcetines – Nación (in Spanish)
  4. Coronado y Cordero en los records morados Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine – UNAFUT(in Spanish)
  5. Víctor Cordero en la historia del Saprissa – UNAFUT