Valentina Vargas, a student at the SEK International School in Costa Rica, who participated in one of the editions of the Real Madrid Clinic organized by the SEK International Institution, fulfils her dream of representing her country as a player on the Under-15 National Team.
My Experience with the National Team
It all began in a match between Saprissa and Sporting in the high-performance category when my coach told me I had been called up for a FIFA program called the Talent Development Scheme. When I received the invitation letter, I realized that the program’s coach was Lina Arana, who had previously been a high-performance coach at Sporting. So, I already knew her, and she also knew me and had a rough idea of how I played.
The first time I was called up to the program was in June, and from June to August, I participated in several training cycles and some friendly matches with the team. I was able to adapt very quickly to my teammates. However, the program paused in August and resumed in October when I received another call-up for a training cycle.
During the first session of the October training cycle, we received the great news that we would play some friendly matches in a tournament against the national teams of Mexico and Guatemala. Nevertheless, they informed us that not everyone could be called up for the tournament. That week, we trained every day from Monday to Friday, and on Friday morning, they announced the list of those who were called up.
I discovered that I had been included in the list through a post on the Federation’s Instagram story. When I saw my name there, I felt very proud because it was my first time representing the country. Furthermore, it was no longer just the program but the Under-15 National Team of Costa Rica. This excited me a lot, as well as my teammates.
I was pleased about the news, to the point that I had trouble sleeping on Saturday because Sunday was our first match. From the morning, we focused on the game, and it was an extraordinary experience, as everything felt like we were professional players. Moreover, it was significant to represent Costa Rica for the first time.
The match against Mexico was closely contested; however, we lost 1-0. After each match, there was a penalty shootout, and when the coach announced the order in which the penalties would be taken, she mentioned my name first. I was a little nervous at first, but I managed to stay calm and, thankfully, scored the penalty confidently.
The next match was against Guatemala, and we won by a score of 10-0, and I scored a goal. At that moment, I felt thrilled because it was an unforgettable moment for me: being able to score my first goal with the National Team.
This first experience with my country’s National Team has been extraordinary, and living through the process has been unique. I hope to repeat it many more times because my dream has always been to become a professional soccer player, and the best part is… I’m very close to achieving it.
Valentina Vargas Rojas
7th grade student
SEK Costa Rica International School