Culture, Sports

The Black and Gold Giant of the Prairie: Douglas Forvis Espinoza

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On June 13th, Guanacaste was again represented in the highest category of national soccer with the rise of the Liberia Municipal Athletic Association after winning the final against Puntarenas F.C.

That night will be remembered by Liberians as a moment of rediscovering their athletic identity and history. At the same time, the series had its heroes and main characters, who left their mark on the championship and the return to the top.

One of them was goalie Douglas Forvis Espinoza, who established himself as someone to be reckoned with, acting decisively in his interventions, especially when he stopped the penalty kick by Puntarenas forward Luis “El Chicharon” Gonzalez, which topped off his strong performance in the final.

About 1.9 meters (6 feet, 3 inches) tall and with hands like a lion, Forvis is the tallest and sturdiest player on the black and gold team. In his gloves, the size five ball looks small, but really it is protected; it is his favorite.

Although he acknowledges that his last name is more from the Caribbean than Guanacaste (his paternal grandmother was from Jamaica), he carries his love for the province in his blood. The 5 in his ID number is proof of it; born in Nicoya and raised in El Llano of Santa Cruz, the 23-year-old “Gigante” (Giant), who uses the number 22 on his uniform, earned being a starting player on the Liberia team.

His beginnings as a soccer player go back to when he was 16 and debuted on the Saprissa de Corazon team in Ascenso League. It was in this club that Forvis got to know excellent goalies up close, like Esteban Alvarado and Keylor Navas. He says he learned a lot from them and they are role models in their professional careers.

“Collegues there (Saprissa) told me that I had the same build and playing style as Esteban Alvarado and I like how he blocks [balls],” said the Nicoyan.

When he was 21, he joined the Liberian team. He confesses that effort and humility have been key for him. Although he acknowledges that the path has not been easy, especially due to the recent death of his father, Winsthon Forvis Wualton, who died about seven months due to thrombosis in his intestines. “I always carry him in my heart and the day that we ascended, I dedicated the title to him,” he recalled with emotion.

The goalkeeper describes himself as a quiet homebody. “I don’t like to go out. I like spending time with my family, my girlfriend, my mom, and coming to train,” said Forvis Espinoza.

His mother, Reina Maria Espinoza Marchena, lives in Santa Cruz and has been an example of humility and work, which motivates him to overcome obstacles.

“My mom sells lottery tickets, sells bread, humbly to move forward. I do not want to see my mom working any more, [so] I am going to sacrifice myself for her,” he assured.

With self-criticism, he acknowledges that he still has room for improvement. For example, in the case of his body size, the team trainer told him that he should lose 10 kilos (22 pounds).

Douglas Forvis Espinoza promises to continue giving it his all in this new challenge and adventure in the first division. “As a young goalie, I have to improve a few things. I myself know it. I am going to set out to be one of the best goalies.