Marco Ureña ran back to the dressing room for a quick moment.
The LAFC and Costa Rica forward had just finished speaking to the media after returning from the World Cup in Russia. He reappeared with two boxes of treats from his native Costa Rica, gifts for two staff memebers at the LAFC Performance Center. While it was a thrill to play in another World Cup for Costa Rica, Ureña couldn't hide the joy of being back in LA.
"So excited really. Really nice how the people welcome you," Ureña said of his return to LAFC from the World Cup. "I’m really happy, I feel like I’m at home. So I’m really excited to come back, because I really miss all the guys and the people that work here. I’m excited and ready to play."
Hard to believe we haven’t seen Ureña in training with LAFC in over two months. After starting the first seven matches for the Club, the forward suffered a facial injury that required surgery in the Club's home opener. Out a month, his return to fitness coincided with Costa Rica’s World Cup preparations and the subsequent tournament in Russia.
Now healthy and back from Russia, Ureña shared his thoughts on his experiences at the 2018 tournament and how happy he is to be back in LA.
“Of course, it’s disappointing with all performances we had on the field, I think we can do better. But there’s nothing we can do about it anymore. It’s history. It happened,” Urena said. “And of course, it’s exciting because for me it was the second World Cup. So different feelings and different things that I have to keep for me that is going to help me. And the rest, what I really don’t need, the negative, I try to forget about it because I don’t have time anymore to think about it.”
In Russia, Ureña made the first two World Cup starts of his career after playing as only a substitute in 2014. But unlike the 2014 tournament in Brazil, where the Ticos and Ureña were the surprise team, topping a group with the likes of England, Italy, and Uruguay and making it to the quarterfinals, Costa Rica were winless in Russia.
Despite the setbacks, Ureña said couldn’t have been prouder of his country and its fans.
“It was amazing. It’s a small country but we really love our football. The people are crazy about the national team,” Ureña said. “When the national team plays, it’s the moment when the country is really a unit. It’s really exciting to play for them and to feel all the support from the social media. You can see my videos and everything, they text you everything, It’s really exciting to see how the people love the national team.”
In Russia, Ureña continued to follow LAFC’s progress while he was away. Of course, Twitter and Instagram came in handy with the tournament being held halfway around the world. Following along on LAFC’s social media handles, Ureña said he was flattered by the amount of support and messages from LAFC fans every time he logged on.
“I think they are special fans. They are not just fans for a normal team, they are really special,” Urena said. “They feel you are family, that you are a team that wants to build something special. I’m always close to LA, even with the national team.”
A second World Cup now under his belt, Ureña said there is only one thing left to do: get back to work and help the team.
“Of course you get a lot of confidence. It’s my second one, as I said. So you get a lot of experience. Hopefully, I can show on the field once again for LAFC, for my team, that I really love to play here. The style of play, I really love what we show during the season. Hopefully, we can keep improving and get in the best shape.
“We are now a full house here, all the players, so it’s going to be exciting.”