Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (LDA), is a Costa Rican football club, currently playing in the Primera División de Costa Rica, is one of the most important clubs in CONCACAF.
Alajuelense was the first Costa Rican team to win a CONCACAF Champions' Cup in 1986. The club is known by their fans as La Liga and has the privilege to be the only Central American club to participate in South American tournaments such like Copa Merconorte in 2000 and the Copa Sudamericana in 2006.
The only club in Costa Rica football history with at least one Championship gained in each decade and along with Club Sport Herediano shares the honors of never to have descended from the first category since its creation in 1920.
Liga Deportiva Alajuelense History
The club was founded in June 18
, Costa Rica
by a group of friends who belonged to a team that, at the time, was known as El Once de Abril
(The Eleventh of April
), giving the Province of Alajuela its first soccer team. On August 2, 1919 Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, or La Liga, played its first game in the city of Cartago against Club Sport Cartagines and achieved one of its many victories with a score of 3-1. In 1921 Costa Rica officially formed a National League creating the first National Championship (Campeonato Nacional) for the country, and La Liga officially became one of the first seven clubs to join. The other clubs that joined were Club Sport Herediano, Club Sport Cartagines, and the now defunct teams of Sociedad Gimnástica Española, Club Sport La Unión de Tres Ríos, Club Sport La Libertad, and Sociedad Gimnástica Limonense. The first year of the Costa Rican National Championship saw nothing but failure for La Liga, as it finished the season in last place. But in 1928, La Liga managed to win the first of many national championships thanks to the skills of a young man that would become one of Costa Rica's most historic soccer figure ever, Alejandro Morera Soto.
On September 7
La Liga had its first ever international victory, defeating Cuba's club team Fortuna 4-2. In February of 1932, Alejandro Morera Soto was signed by Spanish League team Barcelona where he helped FC Barcelona
achieve a Spanish League Championship in 1934, being the lead scorer for the team and earning him the nickname of "El Mago del Balón" (The Wizard of the Ball). On October 12
La Liga and Saprissa played the first of what would become the Costa Rican Classico, where La Liga beat Saprissa 6-5 in El Estadio Nacional. Since 1919, La Liga has been able to obtain 24 Costa Rican National Championships including the most recent one in 2005. They were also the CONCACAF
Club Champions in 1986 (disputing the Copa Interamericana against River Plate in 1987), and in 2004. They also have obtained Central America
Champion status in 1992, and in 1996 they became the champions of "Campeones Grandes de Centro America", they participated in the Copa Merconorte 2000 with a high performing, and in 2002 they won the UNCAF Cup championship as well as in 2005 , earning the invitation for the Copa Sudamericana 2006. Is the Costa Rican team that has won more short tournaments(10).
Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto en el Llano de Alajuela
The stadium is owned and operated by La Liga Deportiva Alajuelense and is located in El Llano de Alajuela. 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 in 1940, but the site would not be soccer-ready until 1942, when Alajuelense played its first match at the site. The first game was played on January 18, 1942 when Liga Deportiva Alajuelense played Club Sport Cartagines.
On July 20, 1966, due to a motion by the Municipality of Alajuela, the stadium was renamed to honor the great Alajuelense and Barcelona player Alejandro Morera Soto. On March 19, 1970 the stadium saw its first night game when Alajuelense faced Honduras Club team Motagua, beating them 4-1. The stadium is not only home to Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, but it is also shares itself along with Estadio Ricardo Saprissa as the home of the Costa Rican National team.
El Leon Alajuelense
El Leon Alajuelense (The Alajuelan Lion) is the official Mascot of Liga Deportiva Alajuelense. El Leon represents four values that are important to Liga Deportiva Alajuelense: bravery, fortitude, dynamics, and fidelity. Before El Leon became the official mascot in the 1990's, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense's mascot was a Mango, in homage to the town of Alajuela which is nicknamed The City of Mangoes.
La Doce ("the twelve") is Liga's radical fan club. They are called "La Doce" because they refer to themselves as the twelveth player of the team. This fan group sings and jumps during the whole game and follows the team across and even outside the country. They have been known to set off fireworks in stadiums and have a reputation for being die-hard fans.
They are also know for being involved in violent acts against other fans supporters and pitch invasion incidents during some games, the last one was 11/27/2007, during an UNCAF match again the Municipal of Guatemala (Liga lost that match 3-0 on the table and their stadium was fined ). Since then, Alajuelense has forbidden some of their members to attend games at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium.
Note: Froylan Ledezma Signed by AFC Ajax in 1997 for around 4,5 million euros. (Record for a Costa Rican Football player)
Note: Javier Delgado as coach won everything with Alajuelense:
Costa Rican Championship
- Winners (24): 1928, 1939, 1941, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05
- Runners-up (19): 1930, 1938, 1944, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2007, 2008.
Costa Rican Short-Tournament Championships
- Apertura (4): 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002
- Clausura (6): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008.
- Copa Argentor (1): 1928 (One of the oldest and important titles of Costa Rica, since in this tournament the clubs participated of first, second and third divisions of the country eliminating itself to each other)
- Copa de Campeones del Futbol Nacional (1): 1967
- 3 Costa Rican Great Britain Cup
- 1 Costa Rican Tournament Cup
- 2 Relampago Tournament
- 1 Estadio Nacional Cup
- 1 Borsalino Trophy
- 1 Guatemala Cup
- 1 Camel Cup
Also, in 2008, it was considered by the IFFHS as the best team of all Central America in the last 20 years.
CONCACAF Champions' Cup
- Winners (2): 1986, 2004
- Runners-up (3): 1971, 1992, 1999
'''Copa Interclubes UNCAF
- Winners (3): 1996, 2002, 2005
- Runners-up (2): 1999, 2000
Other Internacional Championships
- 1961 Central American & Caribbean Champions
- 1992 Central American Champions
- 2000 Copa LG Uncaf (Panama) Champions