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Puerto Rico Islanders: A Rising Star in the Caribbean

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Puerto Rico Islanders: A Rising Star in the Caribbean
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Puerto Rico Islanders

Puerto Rico is a rising star within the Caribbean. One of the notable examples was the match between the island and Spain last summer at Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

The second example that is worth mentioning is the Puerto Rico Islanders located in the same city. The 2013 season will be the 10th for the club.

According to the Puerto Rico Islanders website, Ramon Luis Rivera (who was mayor of Bayamon) collaborated with other professionals. The purpose was to create an environment for the growth of world football in Puerto Rico.

The club initially was associated with the United Soccer League (USL) (former A-League). The first coach was Vitor Hugo Barros from Brazil.

He was eventually replaced as coach by Hugo Maradona, who is Diego Maradona's brother. While the Islanders initially did not make the playoffs, Daniel Kennedy was the first Islander to be named Rookie of the Year by the USL.

The Islanders eventually made the USL playoffs under another coach, Jorge Alvial. Alvial eventually resigned and was replaced by Toribio Rojas.

Rojas managed to take the Islanders to the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship. The intention (although without success) was to participate in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

The Islanders eventually participated in matches between teams associated with the USL and MLS. They also secured a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Cruz Azul of Mexico in CONCACAF Champions League Match

At the same time, Jay Needham was another Islander named USL Rookie of the Year in 2007. The success story of the Islanders continued with the team awarded the USL Organization of the Year in 2008.

In the 2010, the Islanders won three championships: the CONCACAF Champions League, CFU Club Championship and United States Soccer Federation-D2 (USSF-D2). They became members of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in the 2011.

According to the Puerto Rico Islanders webpage, the team enjoyed third place during the 2012 NASL season with 41 points. The team won 11, tied eight and lost nine matches with a goal differential of plus-two.

The Islanders were behind the San Antonio Scorpions and Tampa Bay Rowdies. However, the team announced that they will be undergoing a reorganization during 2013.

During the reorganization, the Islanders will not play during the 2013 spring season. They will play in the remaining season, though.

Regardless of what will transpire, the Puerto Rican Islanders—and football in general—have a future in Puerto Rico.

Roberto Alvarez-Galloso reporting for Bleacher Report from Puerto Rico.

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