Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón will be rocking this Saturday evening when the Puerto Rico Islanders FC begin their United Soccer Leagues Division One’s (USL-1) 2009 season. Not traditionally known as a soccer-loving nation, Puerto Rico’s residents have slowly but surely begun embracing the sport, due in large part to the success of the Islanders. Since joining the league in 2004, the club’s fortunes have gotten better each year. The team missed the playoffs their first 2 seasons in the league but have advanced further in the postseason for 3 years in a row, losing last year’s final against Saturday’s opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Islanders head into the 2009 schedule as preseason favorites thanks to their impressive returning core – including reigning USL-1 MVP Jonathan Steele, Defender of the Year Cristian Arrieta, Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Gaudette and captain Noah Delgado – as well as the influx of new talent, headlined by forward Nicholas Addlery and midfielders Dominic Mediate and Martin Nuñez. The roster depth created by the signings give the Tropa Naranja (or Orange Troop as they’re affectionately called) more flexibility to not only compete and win in the USL-1 but to expand their sights towards international competitions. The club has recently begun participating in the CONCACAF Champion’s League and did well in their first taste of internationl action, reaching the semifinals before losing a heartbreaker to Cruz Azul of Mexico’s Primera División.
With renewed energy, high hopes, and a growing fanbase, the 2009 season looks very bright for the Islanders.
Home Game Schedule at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, PR
Saturday April 18th @ 7:00PM vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Friday April 24th @ 8:00PM vs Rochester Rhinos
Saturday May 2nd @ 8:00PM vs Montreal Impact
Friday May 22nd @ 8:00PM vs Portland Timbers
Sunday May 24th @ 6:00PM vs Portland Timbers
Thursday Junes 4th @ 8:00PM vs Cleveland City Stars
Saturday June 6th @ 7:00PM vs Cleveland City Stars
Friday June 12th @ 8:00PM vs Austin Aztex
Thursday June 18th @ 8:00PM vs Charleston Battery
Saturday June 20th @ 7:00PM vs Charleston Battery
Saturday August 8th @ 7:00PM vs Miami FC Blues
Saturday August 15th @ 7:00PM vs Montreal Impact
Saturday August 29th @ 7:00PM vs Minnesota Thunder
Sunday September 6th @ 6:00PM vs Rochester Rhinos
14th @ 8:00PM vs Carolina RailHawks
For the complete USL-1 Islander games schedule, including away games, click here.
To purchase tickets to Islander home games, click here.
For Puerto Rican fútbol (soccer) news, click here (website in Spanish).