The rumors were true: NBA star and entrepreneur Carmelo Anthony is heading the ownership group for a 2016 NASL Fall Season expansion team, Puerto Rico FC.
“It is an honor for me to bring back soccer to Puerto Rico, my beloved Island, birthplace of my father, and a special place that as you know, I carry with pride in my heart and soul,” Anthony said. “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.”
Puerto Rico FC will be the NASL’s 13th club after the league recently added Miami FC on May 20. The club will play its home matches at the recently renovated Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium. Located in Bayamón in the greater San Juan area, the 12,500-seat stadium serves as the home base for the Puerto Rico national team.
“The NASL is honored to return to Puerto Rico, where the passion for soccer is extraordinary,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. “The addition of Puerto Rico FC is another exciting step for the league, and the club will play a key role in the growth of the game not only on the island, but also across the Caribbean and North American regions.”
Anthony has deep ties to the island of Puerto Rico. He and his wife are of Puerto Rican descent, and for the past several years, the New York Knicks star has made it a personal mission to give back to the island’s residents. Through work with his foundation, Anthony has hosted charity events and opened basketball courts all over Puerto Rico.
With the announcement of Puerto Rico FC, Anthony is combining his passion for the island with his growing interest in soccer. The eight-time NBA All-Star recently traveled to Cuba as a guest of Pele for the New York Cosmos’ historic match against the Cuban National Team in Havana.
“I am committed to bring soccer to the next level in Puerto Rico,” Anthony said. “To the thousands of fans in Puerto Rico that have been waiting for soccer to come back, I can promise a world-class organization in a world-class league, with a strong social mission to provide kids the opportunity to participate in this growing sport.”
“With Carmelo Anthony leading the charge, Puerto Rico FC has an owner who is very passionate about the great people of the island and the sport of soccer,” Peterson said. “He is an extremely talented and focused businessman who sees the many opportunities that will be developed through the club. Puerto Rico FC will be a very special club, and we’re proud to have them in the NASL.”
Image by Joe Colon Studio, courtesy NASL.
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