Kendall Waston

Their words: 'Pura Vida'

Kendall Waston: Their Words

Their stories, their emotions, their words. 

That, in a nutshell, is what this series on is all about. What better way to get to know the 'Caps  your 'Caps  than to hear from them directly. No filter. No fluff. 

Just their words. 

Their words: 'Pura Vida' -

Pura Vida.

That’s a phrase we say in Costa Rica that means “Pure Life.” People use it in many different ways, to say hello, to say goodbye, and so on. It means to be happy, not stress, and live life to the fullest no matter how good or bad your situation is.

It’s a saying I try to live by and it’s one of the many reasons why I love my country.

That, and the beaches, of course.

Costa Rica has a lot of different things to do, but I love going to the beaches with my family. Sometimes we just relax there and sometimes we get in the water and go kayaking or snorkeling, which I love doing because we get to see a lot of the different animals. 

But the biggest thing you need to know about Costa Ricans is how much we love football.

The fans in Costa Rica are very crazy for football. They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner football. All day is football. People love talking about it. You could go to any local store or market and you’ll hear people talking about the last match or what’s going to happen the next match. When the season is done, the country changes. The days are different and the weekends feel a little boring without football.

The best atmosphere is during derby games. When there are derby games, the intensity of the fans goes up 100 per cent more than normal. At my old club Saprissa, the way the fans screamed, cheered and lived the game was the best experience ever.

It was a little bit of a different experience at our rival stadiums.

I remember going in the bus from the hotel to the stadium and watching the people in their cars and motorcycles with their flags, cheering for their team. When we get to within about 500 metres of the stadium, the adrenaline increases and the security tells us to shut the windows. We know in that moment, anything can happen. As we get closer and closer, we start to hear the things they’re throwing at the bus and the songs they’re chanting.

There were many times that I couldn’t even go out to a restaurant, movie, or a shopping mall with my wife because we lost a game – or even worse, a derby game. When we lost a game, my wife would know that the next day we’re staying home.

So we know that every game we have to give everything to try and give a better future to our families. That’s the biggest motivation for Costa Rican players – you want to play well because you want the best for your family.

If you’re playing with a team that’s not one of the big four clubs in Costa Rica, you try to play well to get there. And then when you're on one of those four teams, you want to play well to earn a better contract or get an opportunity to play outside the country.

I got my opportunity a few years ago.

My time in Vancouver has been great. My family and I fell in love with the city and the club very quickly. And I’m thankful that playing for the Whitecaps helped me get back on the Costa Rican national team.

Now, we are a few days away from a huge tournament. We have faith that we can make history. Our goal is to get the Cup. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not impossible. Costa Rica has already set a standard with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Now the other countries look at us in a different way.

We have the obligation to maintain that standard, so this tournament is very important for us as a country and for me as an individual. I can’t wait to get started.

Pura Vida.

Their words: 'Pura Vida' -

Waston and the Costa Rican national team open the 2016 Copa América Centenario on Saturday vs. Paraguay (2 p.m. PT at Orlando Citrus Bowl). 

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