Geylang sign S.League's first Costa Rican player
Geylang striker Coto will be first Costa Rican to play in the S.League
After 21 years, the S.League will see a "first" in 2017 - a player from Costa Rica.
Two-time S.League champions Geylang International have signed Victor Coto to boost their attacking ranks ahead of the new season.
Speaking to The New Paper at Bedok Stadium yesterday, the 26-year-old said: "I'm a very straightforward striker.
"I'm quite physical, I try to use my speed and I always presacrifice a lot for my team."
Born in Limon, Costa Rica, Coto also holds an Italian passport, through his father.
His family is now based 18,000km from his Central American roots, in Bali, Indonesia, where they moved to when he was 13.
Coto, who speaks five languages - Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia - played youth football for Costa Rica's biggest club, Deportivo Saprissa, before moving to Italy to play in the youth team of fourth-tier side Cisco Roma.
His football journey next took him to Malta (Sliema Wanderers), where he earned his first professional contract, before moving to Argentina (Gimnasia Jujuy), Myanmar (Zeyar Shew Myay), Indonesia (Persijap Jepara) and Costa Rica (Universidad de Costa Rica).
He subsequently returned to Zeyar, for whom he represented for the past two years.
He said of his globetrotting career: "It's not easy at all.
"You have to grow up very fast and live a mature life very quickly."
Now, Coto is firmly focused on doing well in the new S.League season, which is set to kick off later this month.
He aims to help Geylang clinch an AFC Cup spot, which they missed out on, on the final day of last season.
He has shown promise in pre-season, scoring thrice in three games, against Malaysian sides Melaka United and Petaling Jaya Rangers and local amateur side Safsa.
Said Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani: "Victor knows football in the region. He has got speed and he is also a very intelligent player. We lacked a (clinical) striker in the first half of last year, so I hope Victor can be that player for us this time."
After losing their Filipino top-scorer Mark Hartmann to Sarawak FA, Hasrin has managed to sign Argentine playmaker Ricardo Sendra from America de Piran of Argentina.
He also retained 14 players from last year's squad, which gives Geylang the continuity lacking in most other S.League teams.
"I can't complain," said Hasrin, on his side's preparations for the year ahead.
"I have 14 players from last season. So even though we did not make any local signings, the positive thing is we have the togetherness."