By Grant Wahl
September 04, 2013
The U.S. will face Costa Rica at the Chinese-built National Stadium in San Jose.
LatinContent/STR/Getty Images

I wasn't expecting to have a discussion on human rights, but José was eloquent in his opinions, and as I've often noticed on these CONCACAF trips -- including to Cuba in 2008 -- he knew more about U.S. current events and politics than most Americans. Some of my best memories covering this sport come from trips to World Cup qualifiers throughout CONCACAF, from the hills of Central America to the beaches of the Caribbean to the historic soccer shrine of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The reception inside the stadiums hasn't always been friendly -- this is sports, after all -- but the people everywhere else have been terrific.

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