Skip to content
Central American sports stars

Three Top Central American Sports Stars Playing Today

Central America may not, to those who don’t know, be a hotbed of famous athletes and sports pros. But they’re out there. Here are three of the most famous Central American sports stars playing in 2022.

When you look at some of the best-known sports stars in the world today, you might think about some of the biggest names from North and South America. Names like Lionel Messi or Tom Brady or Tiger Woods. You might consider Europeans like Novak Djokovic or Cristiano Ronaldo. Or Africans and Asians like Sadio Mane and Naomi Osaka.

You might not think of any Central American sports stars immediately off the top of your head. But Central America does has its fair share of international athletes playing at the highest level. Over the years you’ll have seen them in Major League Baseball, the top European soccer leagues, and elsewhere.

But who are the top Central American sports stars around today, in 2022? Let’s take a look at the top three.

Keylor Antonio Navas Gamboa

Born in Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica, Keylor Navas is possibly the most successful sports star out of Central America in the last decade. He is currently the goalkeeper for French soccer powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Having started his youth career with Saprissa in Costa Rica, Navas signed for Spanish second-division club Albacete in 2010. He made 36 appearances for Albacete before getting loaned out to Levante in La Liga.

Levante signed him on a permanent basis in 2012 and he caught the attention of Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2014. By this time, Navas was the first choice keeper for his country. Costa Rica (and Navas in particular) had an outstanding World Cup in 2014, reaching the quarter finals for the first time in their history. This World Cup performance helped Real Madrid with their decision to sign Navas, but contrary to popular opinion, it wasn’t the main reason. Navas was on their radar already.

Before the 2014 World Cup, Navas made more saves for Levante than any other goalkeeper in La Liga and was the first player of his position to become a La Liga Player of the Month.

He made 104 appearances for Real Madrid before Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois arrived and took his place. This led to his PSG move in 2019.

In his career, Navas has won three Champions League winners’ medals with Real Madrid and two Ligue 1 titles with PSG. As well as that fantastic 2014 World Cup run, Navas also helped Costa Rica finish runners up in 2009 and 2011 in the UNCAF Nations Cup.

Roger Aníbal Espinoza Ramírez

While his playing days may be behind him, Roger Espinoza is one of the most successful sports stars to have come out of Honduras. Born in Puerto Cortés, he moved as a child to the United States and began his professional soccer career at Arizona Sahuaros in 2006.

In 2008, Espinoza moved to MLS club Sporting Kansas City. Here, he would make 113 appearances, score two goals, and win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2012.

His great form in the MLS prompted his move to the English Premier League in 2013, where he spent a season at Wigan Athletic, with whom he won the FA Cup.

Following his success in Europe, Espinoza returned to Sporting Kansas City, where he still plays. In this second spell, he’s won two more Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, in 2015 and 2017.

At 35, Espinoza is on the final stretch of his time as a player. He’s become involved in the coaching setup at Sporting Kansas City, and the team clearly has a special place in his heart.

Could he one day be the future head coach at Sporting Kansas City and take them on to more glory? Only time will tell, but if you think he might have the chance you can always back him by keeping an eye out for Kansas sportsbooks promo codes.

Jonathan Stanley Loáisiga Estrada

An up-and-coming sports star from Central America is the New York Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loáisiga. Born in Managua, Nicaragua, Loáisiga first signed for the San Francisco Giants in 2012 as an international free agent.

He then spent a lot of time jumping between teams in the minors, and wouldn’t make his MLB debut until 2018, when he joined the Yankees.

His statistics through to mid-August saw him with a win-loss record of 17-9, with an earned run average of 3.79 and 183 strikeouts. Simply put, he is one of the key reasons why the New York Yankees have been in such fine form this year, and one of the favorites to win the World Series.

If he can keep up his form, there’s no reason why Loáisiga can’t emulate other famous Nicaraguan baseball players like Dennis Martínez. Martínez was the first Nicaraguan to play in the majors, and ended up a four-time MLB All-Star. But could Loáisiga go even further and end up winning the World Series? If that happens, watch the celebrations in baseball-crazy Nicaragua go off.

And there you have it, three of our top Central American sports stars.

It may not be a list you agree with, but with so many sports stars from this region, it was hard to pick three. We tried to find players at different stages of their careers, mixing those already with success with those who are chasing it.

Who do you think are the best Central American sports stars?

Scroll to Top