Puerto Rico will be making a return to the NASL, joining the San Antonio Scorpions in the league in 2016, the league office announced in Puerto Rico Thursday afternoon. Fans of other clubs will not be happy with the timing of the inclusion with Puerto Rico joining the league in the Fall Season of 2016.
The new Puerto Rico club will bring a professional soccer club back to the island after the Puerto Rico Islanders left at the end of the 2012 season. After a three year break a club will be back, but in a new version as this club will be known as Puerto Rico FC, rather than the Islanders.
The new club will play at the same venue as the old club as they will play at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, which has been remodeled since the Islanders played there. The capacity is now 12,500 seats and has created a more professional home ground for the Puerto Rico National Team.
The club brings some star power to the table to get some attention as NBA player Carmelo Anthony, with Puerto Rican ancestry, will be the owner of the club. “Through my Foundation, I have been coming to Puerto Rico for the past six years, restoring basketball courts in underprivileged communities. Today, I come back to the island – this time with the commitment of restoring professional soccer in Puerto Rico through the NASL,” said Anthony at the announcement press conference.
It seems that Puerto Rico FC will continue on some of the old traditions of the Islanders, not just playing in the same stadium. The club’s color scheme also appears to be the same with the club’s crest at the announcement also featuring orange and white like the Islanders.
Bringing back a professional club to the island should also prove a boost to the Puerto Rico national team. In the past, players for the Islanders became eligible for the Puerto Rico national team after two years residency on the island, as Puerto Rico is a US territory having a US passport is enough for eligibility. That history saw Puerto Rico build a competitive national team and they managed an appearance in the Gold Cup and fans will be hoping this Puerto Rico FC will build a similar tradition.