Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá
La Cueva del Monstruo (The Monster's Cave)
|Location||San Juan de Tibás, Costa Rica|
|Field size||105 x 68 m|
|Surface||Grass 1972 to 2003|
Artificial turf 2004 to 2014
Grass 2015 to present
|Opened||August 27, 1972|
Costa Rica national football team
The stadium is the home of Deportivo Saprissa, and was named in honour of the team's founder, Ricardo Saprissa. The stadium's nickname "The Monster's Cave" is derived from the team's nickname "The Purple Monster".
Saprissa originally played at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica (Costa Rica National Stadium), a rented and shared facility. It was Costa Rica's first national stadium.
In 1955 Ricardo Saprissa sought out a permanent site which could serve the training ground and competition play location needs of Deportivo Saprissa. He had several qualities he wanted in the site: a location with easy access from the capital city of San Jose and from the provincial cities such as Alajuela, Cartago, and Heredia. On 3 August 1965 he bought a site in San Juan de Tibás for ₡363,398.90. On 12 October 1966, the initial construction program was a football pitch with stands. On 27 August 1972, following a six year construction and improvement program Estadio Ricardo Saprissa was officially opened. The first match was between Deportivo Saprissa and Comunicaciones of Guatemala. Peter Sandoval of Comunicaciones made the first goal at the stadium. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
In 2003, the long tropical rainy season at the stadium caused Saprissa to apply and be granted by FIFA, permission to change out the pitch from natural lawn to synthetic turf, the then-only stadium in Latin America to have this type of turf. The stadium has also been used for Costa Rica national football team matches. It is the second-largest football stadium in Costa Rica; Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica (the current National Stadium) has a seating capacity that outranks the Estadio Saprissa seating capacity of 23,112. The local mountains and downtown San José overlook Estadio Saprissa.
The team replaced the FieldTurf field with a new natural playing surface in 2015.
The stadium also regularly hosts concerts by local and international artists.
The stadium is seen with infamy by players of the United States men's national soccer team. On numerous occasions, Alexi Lalas has described the stadium as the most "difficult" and "intimidating" to play at; even depicting it as "daunting (...) worse than Azteca." Landon Donovan called the stadium his favorite, describing that "you only think to get out of there alive." During an interview with CONCACAF, Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz, who was Clint Dempsey's teammate at Fulham, said Dempsey hated the stadium because of the proximity of the stands and the artificial turf.
- Mendoza, Adrián. "¿Pierde el encanto la Cueva del Monstruo? (in Spanish)". CRHoy.com. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "Stadiums in Costa Rica". Worldstadiums.com. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
- Lalas, Alexi (6 June 2016). "Alexi Lalas on Twitter: "Old Saprissa was the most difficult stadium to play in."". Twitter. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
- Lalas, Alexi (7 December 2010). "Alexi Lalas on Twitter: "Azteca or old Saprissa. RT @simpsonnicholas: @alexilalas22 most intimidating stadium to play in?"". Twitter. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
- Lalas, Alexi (17 April 2013). "Alexi Lalas on Twitter: "Yes. Worse than Azteca. RT @Frances_finest Is playing in the Estadio Saprissa as daunting as the media makes it out to be? #AskAlexi"". Twitter. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
- Quijano, Fernando (22 June 2018). "Estadio Saprissa, uno de los favoritos de Landon Donovan". AS USA (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
- "Entrevista Completa Bryan Ruiz #HomeFans" (in Spanish). 26 June 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.