Saprissa’s Costa Rica int’l Calvo joins Minnesota United

Francisco Calvo (pictured) has played in 16 all-time Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League games across five different editions of the competition. (Photo: Mexsport)

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota -- Minnesota United announced Tuesday that it has signed Costa Rica Francisco Calvo from Costa Rican champion Saprissa.

The 24-year-old defender enjoyed a successful spell with the Monstruo Morado, claiming two Costa Rican league titles and competing in a pair of Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League campaigns.

“You can’t be anything but impressed with Calvo and the way he has been playing recently,” said Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath. “He is a mainstay in the Costa Rican national team and has excelled as a player with Saprissa. Today we added another really quality piece to a growing roster.”

At 5-feet-11, Calvo plays well above his height and has acquired a reputation for scoring goals from set pieces. He helped the club secure a place in the 2016/17 SCCL quarterfinals against Pachuca by starting in all four group-stage games and scoring one goal.

“The great thing about Francisco is that he can play virtually anywhere in the back four, he’s an incredibly intelligent footballer,” Heath added. “He has a lot of versatility and his best years are ahead of him.”

This marks the second time that Calvo will play in the United States, following up on a stint in college soccer at San Jacinto College in 2010, before returning to home for the first of two spells with Herediano. He has also competed for FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark and Costa Rican sides Perez Zeledon and Santos.

With Costa Rica, Calvo has earned 17 caps, competing in the 2016 Copa America Centenario (2 games/0 goals), the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (3/0) and the 2011 Copa America (3/0).

Fellow Costa Rican Johan Venegas joined United two weeks ago from the Montreal Impact.

Last week, Saprissa signaled that Calvo would be leaving the club, releasing a statement on its website that said: “El Monstruo thanks the sacrifice and leadership of Francisco Calvo Quesada, who is now the signing of Minnesota United of the USA’s Major League Soccer. Deportivo Saprissa wishes the best to the left-footed defender in his new professional challenge and thanks him for his performance while wearing the shirt of the winningest club in Costa Rican football.”


  • Calvo has played in five different editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (Saprissa: 2015/16, 2016/17; Herediano: 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15), appearing in 16 games and scoring two goals.