Utah native the unexpected savior of Costa Rican soccer team Herediano
For months leading up to that Champions League match against RSL, the club's players made money by putting on dances and selling tickets door-to-door. When players started getting evicted from their homes, fans of the team and personal friends sheltered and fed the players and their families, providing the necessities of life, plus a little extra where they could.
"We almost never got paid," Ramirez says. "The situation was bad. Playing that way was hard. Players and employees of the club never had money to do their personal things. We tried to support each other as a team, and those around us tried to help us by giving us money and food. The situation was really critical. We never want to be that way anymore."
This problem was hardly unique to Herediano. Saborio says that at the beginning of his career, Saprissa also suffered similar problems making payroll.
"We had problems with salaries," he says, "We went three to four months without pay, and then the manager would come and say, 'We can't pay today. We maybe can pay next week or next month.' So, we had to play without money. It's a very difficult situation for a player."
While Herediano was in Salt Lake City, the club's ownership had begun looking for someone to purchase the club. It didn't take them long to find the right group for the job. Enter Patey and his brothers.
Patey's company has been running Herediano for the last three months, striving to put the team on more stable financial foundation. In a move to begin to make payroll again, the club began purchasing its own tickets, hoping the fans would buy enough for them to break even, and the fans have come through.
Addtitionally, Patey has expanded revenues with sponsorship agreements and has heavily emphasized in-house player development. The sale of players developed at Herediano's academy to other teams is expected to become a significant source of revenue.
"He was the man who came to make a miracle," Ramirez says. "From the beginning he was a friend for all of us. Everything for us has been pretty good since the moment he came to the club. We always want to be in contact with him because he does everything for the good of the club."
Saborio also expressed gratitude for what Patey has done for his former rival.
"I am happy for the club, for the players and for the franchise," Saborio says. "I am pleased for [Patey]. He came from the U.S. to buy the team and helped the franchise to continue and helped soccer. I hope he makes very good decisions and can stay in the country for years to come."
This is part one of a two-part series on David Patey. In the next installment, Patey's purchase of Herediano bought him something he didn't expect: celebrity.
Editor's note: This article has been modified to correct factually incorrect statements. This version incorporates David Patey's brothers and portrays them as part-owners of Herediano, whereas previously no mention of Mike and Mark Patey was made.
Also, the article previously read that Costa Rica Consultants made short-term loans to large financial institutions, which was incorrect. It now reads that Costa Rica Consultants makes large loans to private individuals, using real estate as collateral.
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