Imagine a former Imperial Valley resident being one of world's premiere soccer players. Now imagine him playing in arguably the most prestigious sports event on the planet, playing some of the best athletes around.
Former Calexico resident and Vincent Memorial High School basketball standout Paulo César Wanchope is doing just that as a member of Costa Rica's national soccer squad competing in the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament.
The 25-year-old Wanchope arrived in the Valley as a foreign exchange student with dreams of becoming an NBA superstar.
In 1992 he attended Vincent Memorial, where he became the star of its varsity basketball squad, leading the team to the CIF Southern Section Division V championship match in 1994.
Wanchope led the U-19 El Centro Dynamo soccer squad to a state championship in 1994.
"You can notice who's a superstar and who's not. I remember him as a very humble and happy guy who was always striving for the best," said Vincent Memorial High School Athletic Director Jesús González. "I hope they (Costa Rica) make it to the second round and beyond."