Volleyball was invented in 1895 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by a YMCA physical education director named William G. Morgan. The origins of the sport in Costa Rica are obscure, with some saying that American students played it here as early as 1920, while others say a similar game was first played in 1935.
What is better documented is that Professor Alfredo Cruz Bolaños introduced the game here after a Costa Rican delegation participated in the Central American and Caribbean Games of 1938.
Starting in 1950, a large number of Venezuelans arrived in Costa Rica to seek asylum, and they helped to popularize volleyball and to teach it at the Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Sión. This school eventually developed a dominating team with a fan base that reportedly filled the bleachers, especially for matches with cross-town rival Lincoln School.
A National Volleyball Association was formed in the 1950s, and the sport continued to spread to new schools and private clubs. Leaders of the association attempted to set up an elimination process to find the best players in the country and form a national team, but this job proved very challenging because of their lack of experience and because of resistance from leaders of other sports organizations, who criticized the selection process and the people leading it.
The National Volleyball Association concerned itself with fairness in refereeing and in teaching players to respect judges and the public. Players who didn’t follow the rules or showed disrespect toward judges, fellow players or the public were penalized, according to a brief history of the sport in Costa Rica published by FECOVOL.
In the late 1960s, a Puerto Rican professor named Israel García introduced strategies and tactics of the modern game. Whereas teams had traditionally lined up in two triangles, a system of “multiple penetration” was introduced with a single defensive line, the 3-2-1.
By 1970, Costa Rica had a national team and was granted membership in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). By 1999 and 2000, it was the Central American champion in three categories: childhood, youth, and adult, for both sexes.