Jorge Luis Pinto
2014 FIFA World Cup
Previous Clubs/Countries: Millonarios (twice), Sante Fe (twice), Union Magdalena (twice), Deportivo Cali, Alianza Lima (twice), Alajuelense, Atletico Junior de Barranquilla (twice), Costa Rica, Cucuta Deportivo (twice), Colombia, El Nacional, Deportivo Tachira
Honours: Colombian First Division 2006; Costa Rican Apertura 2002, Clausura 2003, Apertura 2003; Peruvian Torneo Apertura 1997, Torneo Clausura 1997, Torneo Clausura 1999; Venezuelan First Division 2011; UNCAF Nations Cup 2013
Costa Rica manager Jose Luis Pinto isn't one to adhere to the adage, "You can't go home again." He has returned to sides that he managed previously no fewer than six times during his career, and his current job marks his second stint with the Ticos.
His prior spell with Costa Rica saw him enjoy some early success, but that gave way to struggle. Some shaky results -- in particular an away draw to Trinidad & Tobago -- resulted in his dismissal just three games into the final round Hexagonal for the 2006 World Cup.
This time around he has fared much better. Taking over for Ricardo La Volpe, Pinto revived a Costa Rica side that was in transition following the failed qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup. Even though this edition of the Ticos was perceived to have less talent than its World Cup-qualifying forbears, Pinto succeeded in crafting a defensively resolute side that could rely on the skills of Bryan Ruiz and Alvaro Saborio in attack.
Pinto's rise through the coaching ranks is remarkable in that he has no playing background to speak of. He received a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education from the Universidad Pedagogica in 1971, and then began working at Millonarios under manager Gabriel Ochoa Uribe as a trainer in 1972. He later spent time in Brazil working with Carlos Alberto Parreira, before returning to Colombia as an assistant with Union Magdalena and furthering his coaching education in Germany.
Pinto secured his first managerial post with Millonarios in 1984, at which point he embarked on a tour of South and Central American clubs. He never spent more than three years at any one post, but he did manage to win titles in Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, and Venezuela.
Following his initial foray into international football in 2004 with Costa Rica, he took over his native Colombia in 2007. Pinto got the Cafeteros off to a fantastic start during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, securing 10 points from the first six games. But things fell apart quickly, and he was dismissed in September of 2008.
He returned to club football, managing clubs in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela before returning to the Costa Rica national team in 2011.
Strengths: Pinto has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, which enables him to get teams organised quickly, a handy trait to have given how much he has bounced around in his career. He also leads with an enormous amount of self-confidence, and this has made Costa Rica a tougher outfit than the one that fell agonisingly short of qualification for the 2010 World Cup. Pinto also showed some tactical flexibility during World Cup qualifying, switching between a four-man and five-man back line.
Weaknesses: Pinto operates in very much a "my way or the highway" manner, which can translate into him being too harsh on his teams at times. When things are going well, this isn't an issue, but when a side begins to struggle for results, his methods can have the effect of killing confidence within his team.
Career high: Given that Pinto has won championships in four different countries, picking out one moment is difficult. But getting Costa Rica to the World Cup has to qualify as the pinnacle of his career.
Career low: Pinto has twice been dismissed as a national team manager in the middle of a World Cup qualifying campaign. The first was his previous stint with Costa Rica, but the bigger blow came in 2008 when he was let go as manager of his native Colombia.
Tactics: Pinto played with both four-man and five-man back lines during qualifying, settling on a 5-4-1 for the final four games of the Hexagonal. Now it looks like he'll revert to a 4-5-1 for the World Cup, but both approaches are attack-minded, with full-backs Cristian Gamboa and Junior Diaz often getting forward. The approach also features Bryan Ruiz as the primary attacking threat out of midfield and Alvaro Saborio as the lone forward.
Quotes: "The biggest dream of my life as a coach is to lead a team in a World Cup. Now, the third time's the charm. It wasn't with Costa Rica [the first time], it wasn't with Colombia, now I have a new opportunity." Jorge Luis Pinto, as told to La Republica upon returning as manager of Costa Rica.
Trivia: Pinto's sister, Yolanda Pinto de Gaviria, is a Colombian politician who served in the country's senate from 2007 to 2010.
Words: Jeff Carlisle