The Miami Herald
July 23, 2000

 Two Cubans with sports team defect to Costa Rica

 SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- (AP) -- Two Cubans visiting Costa Rica for a sports
 competition have defected and plan to seek political asylum to stay in this Central
 American country.

 Alieth Garcia, a player on Cuba's futsal -- or indoor soccer -- team, and the team's
 doctor, Gustavo Gonzalez, defected Friday. Both said they want to live in Costa
 Rica. The two emphasized that they do not plan to try to enter the United States.

 Government officials have not provided any comment.

 The Cuban team was in Costa Rica to compete ahead of the futsal World Cup to
 be held Nov. 18-Dec. 3, 2000 in Guatemala City. The draw is scheduled for
 August 2000.

 Futsal, or five-a-side soccer, was born on the beaches of Brazil in the 1920s and
 has slowly spread around the world. It is now played indoors on an international
 level. Though still not an Olympic sport, futsal has had three World Cups, in 1989,
 1992 and 1996, all won by Brazil.