RIP Paolo Vincenzi Zúñiga 1969 – 2021

It is with deep regret that we report of the sudden passing of Paolo Vincenzi Zúñiga, the founding president of the Costa Rica Flag & American Football Federation and also a coach, who passed away at the age of 52 on Sunday, June 13th, 2021, after a lengthy fight against cancer.

Paolo amassed a commemorative career in the sport starting with acquiring a scholarship in a USA high school as a kicker. Initially, he was scouted by the high school as a soccer player but when the American football coaches saw his footwork skills, they approached him and he was recruited as a kicker.

In Costa Rica, his involvement with the sport kicked off as the first head coach of the Toros team in 2009. The Toros were the undefeated champions and Paolo doubled his role as not only the head coach in that league but also as the kicker.

He then founded the American Football Federation of Costa Rica (FEFACR) in 2011 and held the position of president until 2015. FEFACR achieved recognition by induction into the Costa Rican Institute of Sports & Recreation – ICODER and played its 1st national league season that same year. FEFACR went on to become a member of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF).

Although many would agree that his greatest contribution to the sport was as a pioneer in developing youth American football and organized flag football in Costa Rica, Paolo was the greatest advocate for youth players in the country. When most coaches and adult players were only focused on winning trophies, Paolo always had his focus set on developing the youth players, the future generations of the sport, while simultaneously raising the level of play. Many youth players that started under the guidance of Paolo are now accomplished league players.

The football community in Costa Rica will forever be grateful and beholden to Paolo.

Ms Elle has a career in corporate communication and branding, spanning four continents over 25 years, with recent years pursuing sports marketing and media. She is currently living in Costa Rica and assists with the promotion of American football in