Costa Rica left the World Cup in Qatar after the group stage but do so with their heads held high. Even though they lost 0-7 to Spain in their first-round match, Los Ticos then managed a 1-0 win over eventual Group E winners Japan, and at one point led 2-1 in their final-round match against Germany, and for a few minutes were even in a position to qualify for the ’round of 16′. In the end, it ended 4-2 for Hansi Flick’s team and the Central American national team was eliminated, but, as said before, they left behind a good impression.
One of Costa Rica’s scorers against Germany was Yeltsin Tejeda, one of the most experienced players of “Los ticos”, already in his third World Cup, but who just now scored his first goal for the national team! This was his 76th game for Los Ticos, but his first goal.
The Herediano midfielder stands out mainly because of his name, unusual for a Latin American country. If you thought his name, Yeltsin, reminded you of someone, you’re right…
Yeltsin Tejeda fulfilled his mother’s dream for the second time four years ago at the World Cup in Russia. To understand this, the story needs to be told from the beginning. The Costa Rican footballer was born in 1992, a few months after Boris Yeltsin was elected president of Russia in 1991. His mother, Rocio Valverde, liked to follow politics, and the Russian’s name generated a lot of buzzes because he was the first president after the dissolution of the former USSR.
She liked Boris Yeltsin’s name so much that she decided to “steal” the name Yeltsin for her son. Thus was born this Costa Rican footballer who has already participated in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 edition in Russia. His beginnings were not easy. At the age of 15, he had to leave home and live in San José to train and pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
He didn’t see his family for about two weeks. His relatives say he wasn’t very studious, but he was passing his subjects, a basic requirement of his parents for Yeltsin Tejeda to continue playing football. He would arrive at class sweaty because, even if it was only for five minutes, he used his free time to kick the ball around. He even had a neighbor move out of his house because he was tired of kicking balls against the walls of his house all day.
Eventually, he was able to take the plunge and fulfill his dream of becoming a footballer. He also fulfilled his mother’s dream. During his time as an international in 2016, his national team visited Russia for a friendly match. In front of the press, he revealed the story of his name, becoming the centre of attention of all fans. On that day, Yeltsin Tejeda was only a reserve, but he fulfilled his mother’s wish to play for the country presided over by Boris Yeltsin.
That day he received a standing ovation from all the Russian fans when he took the field. Costa Rica won 4-3 thanks to an overtime goal by Joel Campbell against Russia, the subsequent host country of the 2018 World Cup. He was included in Costa Rica’s squad and then at the World Cup, fulfilling for the second time his mother’s dream of seeing her son play for the country that gave him his name.