Puerto Rico Islanders: Defending 2010 USSF D-2 Pro League Champs Hosting Tryouts

Cesar DiazCorrespondent IIFebruary 17, 2011

Tryout for the Puerto Rico Islanders! (Photograph courtesy of the PR Islanders)
Tryout for the Puerto Rico Islanders! (Photograph courtesy of the PR Islanders)

From March 1 to March 3, the 2010 USSF Division-II Pro League Champions the Puerto Rico Islanders FC will hold open tryouts for the 2011 North American Soccer League (NASL) season.

The tryouts will be held at the Sylvan Lake Park in Orlando, Florida. The registration fee to attend the Puerto Rico Islanders Player Combine is $150.00 USD.

All traveling players must secure their own lodging, meals, travel documents and local transportation for the tryouts. Puerto Rico Islanders tryouts group rates available at Comfort Inn and Suites and Spring Hill Suites Marriot.

To attend the tryouts, players must fill out both the registration form and the waiver form. These forms and payment must be received by Monday, February 22, 2011.

Any questions or concerns regarding the open tryouts to Jack Stefanowski at jsprislanders@aol.com or (917) 676-0855. You may also contact Jack or myself if you need the registration forms emailed to you.

If you wish to be part of the defending 2010 USSF Division-II Pro League Champions and the winner of the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship, then the Islanders is the team for you. One of the benefits of playing for the Islanders is that you'll have the opportunity to experience the Puerto Rican culture while being part of the soccer growth the island has experienced over the past few years.

If you've ever wondered wanted to experience playing professional soccer in the Caribbean, this would be a fantastic opportunity for you. Playing at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, PR, you'll have the chance to experience the atmosphere Puerto Rican fans bring to each home game.

For a country that’s recognized for their baseball, boxing and basketball, Puerto Rico can now include soccer on their sports resume! As the defending champions, the Islanders are now officially one of the best soccer clubs in North America.

Founded in 2003, the Puerto Rico Islanders is a professional soccer franchise that prior to joining the NASL for the 2011 season competed in the United Soccer Leagues (USL). Owned by a group of local investors and founder Joe Serralta, the purpose for the Islanders was to create a soccer atmosphere in a baseball, basketball, and boxing dominated country.

Initially, the Islanders weren’t considered contenders but all of that changed on May 22, 2007 when the team appointed Colin Clarke as coach.

Recognized by the media and fans as El General, Coach Clarke’s “no-nonsense” approach and fierce discipline has made the Islanders into championship contenders and has restored pride in their orange and white jerseys.

Coach Clarke and his coaching staff has turned the Islanders, once regarded as a laughingstock, into a fierce and competitive team. Prior to the 2010 season, their most successful season was in 2008, when the Islanders earned the USL Commissioner’s Cup for having the best regular season record.

Along with the Commissioner’s Cup, the Islanders won the Organization of the Year. Additionally, the Islanders also swept the USL individual awards as they won Coach of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Defender of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

Under Coach Clarke’s leadership, the Islanders have successfully competed in Division-II soccer as well as in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they fought North and Latin America’s best soccer clubs tooth and nail.

Along with the team's marvelous 2008 to 2010 campaigns, the Islanders have put on back to back to back solid performances in the CONCACAF Champions League. Teams from Major League Soccer, the Mexican and Honduran Leagues are now aware of “Los Mata-gigantes” tenacity the Islanders compete.

In last year’s Champions League, they eliminated Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy from the tournament. At the time of the CONCACAF Champions League, Landon Donovan's L.A. Galaxy had the best record in MLS.

In addition to coaching the Islanders, Coach Clarke is also head coach of the Puerto Rico National Team. Killing a few birds with one stone, Coach Clarke won over the Puerto Rican people and instilled their faith in both the National Team and the Islanders.

Based on the Islanders 2010 Championship success, soccer in Puerto Rico is very much alive and you have the opportunity to be part of it!

Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. You may follow him on Facebook at Covering Soccer and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer and @LatinoSports143. Please email your questions and comments to Cesar at cesar@latinosports.com.