Staying Superman: Joel Campbell


Joel Campbell

Age: 23

Club: Arsenal

Nationality: Costa Rican

Position: Forward

Few can claim they know what it’s like to carry the hopes of a nation on their shoulders. Joel Cambell is one of those people. When he was just 21, he led his countrymen to an improbable Quarterfinals appearance at the 2014 World Cup. Before the attacker even set foot on the grounds at the Emirates Stadium in London, he had a World Cup tally to his name. In his first match in Brazil, he scored against Uruguay in what would go on to be one of the tournament’s first upsets.

Two weeks later, he added another strike — this time in penalties against Greece in the Round of 16, meaning for the first time ever, Costa Rica would reach a World Cup Quarterfinal. For club, the speedy winger added three strikes this season, in addition to four assists in Premier League play.

Campbell is a divisive figure. Some believe his time in London has proven that he’s all hype, and won’t succeed on the game’s biggest stages. Other point to his international career as proof that production abroad has no bearing on how one might fare for country. All that’s really known is this: for two weeks in Brazil, Joel Campbell led two dozen Costa Ricans to finish as one of the top eight teams in the world. Do you want to bet against him doing it again?

How to cite this article: “The Young Guns” Written by Shaker Samman (2016), Copa America Centenario 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).