Puerto Rico internationals

Discussion in 'Caribbean' started by northern ireland fan, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. northern ireland fan

    Aug 10, 2001
    I see that PR are playing Trinidad and Tobago in an international in November. Just a couple of quick questions to anybody who is in the know

    1/ Will the team be competitive ?
    2/ Presumably the team will be made up of guys from their A league team, Yes/No?
    3/ Do they plan to call up guys who were born outside PR (the way that Chris Armas played for them before, I believe this was in 1993)
    4/ Follow up question from 3 - what players in North America at the minute have Puerto Rican roots that they could call up - I know of Armas's younger brother and Velez from seattle. Is there any others (MLS players), is there any players with Puerto Rican roots overseas ?

    Thanks for any help anybody can provide.
  2. DaMunk

    DaMunk Member

    Feb 7, 2003
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    US Virgin Islands
    Not that it has a direct effect on their curent team, but their association did not enter WC qualifying b/c they were reorganizing. I am not positive about their competitiveness, but I know the Islanders was not a 'national team'. A bunch of their players were imported from South and Central America. If you believe in the FIFA rankings, PR is amongst the minnows of the caribbean zone - plus soccer is perhaps the third sport behind baseball and basketball.
  3. ChrisE

    ChrisE Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    I'd be surprised if Puerto Rico was too competitive against Trinidad. However, the Islanders team is practically a national team. The only Puerto Rican that I know of playing outside Puerto Rico is Marco Velez on the Sounders. Most of the Puerto Ricans who played significant minutes on that team - Rafael Ortiz, Alexis Rivera, Eduardo Memendi, Carlos Garay - are really likely to be on any national team. Here's a roster from a 2002 Copa Caribe match (url=http://www.rsssf.com/tablesc/caribe02.html]url[/url] (they lost 2-0, 4-0 to Guadeloupe)

    Rene Bezares, Jose Nieves, Alejandro Caicedo, Javier Ortiz,
    Luis Mussenden (Ramon Negron 60'), Angel Mussenden (Nelson
    Encarnacion 80'), Rafael Ortiz (Jesus Rivera 89'), Carlos
    Astondoa, Carlos D'Avila, Cristian Caicedo, Toal Joseph

    Other Islanders on that team are Mussenden, Astondoa, and Toal Joseph.

    You might want to try searching the USL forums - there were a few fans there.
  4. Rafael Hernandez

    Rafael Hernandez Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Volleyball is also bigger than soccer. And individual sports like Boxing are bigger too.
  5. yankiboy

    yankiboy New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Hi, although I don't live on the island and am not Puerto Rican, I happen to follow PR sports--especially soccer--very closely because my wife is from there and I have always loved an underdog (and you don't get much more underdog than PR in football). I am also huge Islander's fan, and when talking about PR National Team, there is no other greater component than the Islanders. The two are intertwined although they are not one in the same.

    So, here to the best of my knolwledge are some responses to your questions:

    The game that you mentioned will be a part of "our" 2005 Gold Cup Qualifying campaign. We are in group D. As you mentioned the giants of the group are T&T, the is also Surinam and Grenada. All of our group's play takes place in Trinidad. We play TT on 11/24, SUR on 11/26 and GRE on 11/28.

    1) Will we be competetive?
    I sure as help hope so, but I am realistic. T&T is gonna wax us. IF we can keep the result close and only lose by 3 goals or so then I will consider us fortunate. I think not getting blown out the first game is crucial for our table standings and our morale. All the othe countries in our group have guys who play at a higher level than our guys. SUR has several guys playing in the Dutch 2nd Division. Grenada has a few guys playing in ENG in lower divisions. With GRE no one yet knows what kind of team they will bring because their morale was very low (for reasons I can't yet understand) after we (USA) eliminated them in WCQ. I think that some of their supporters were completely unrealistic. We are definitely the weakest team in the group. The top two teams go on to the next round. Surinam might fork over the cash to bring guys back from the Netherlands. Anything is possible in football. We have a fighting chance to make it out of the group. That would be a huge success for us. Sometimes the best, most developed football doesn't always win. Team chemistry and a sense of purpose can be enough to make a difference if planets align correctly.

    2) Islanders Players Incorporated Into the National Team Roster:
    Most of the players do belong to the Islanders. Many of them did not start for the team. The majority of the Islanders' starting lineup were foreigners (approximately three Yanks, two Brazilians, three Argentines) after the teams lineup really took shape during it's A-League campaign. So most of the Puerto Ricans either rode the bench. In some cases they got decent substitute time. But in other cases, they never got off the bench too often.

    The most notable Islanders players will probably be:
    Rafael "Mime" Ortiz MF/D- Old man of the group at 35, provides leadership
    Carlos Garay F- 23 y.o., had an impressive college career in the States
    Alex Rivera D- Tough, gritty player with lots of potential
    Toal Joseph MF- Player with a good sense of the game.

    3) Players Born Outside of PR on Team:
    1. Carlos Garay F- Born and raised in the States to very charming Puerto
    Rican parents (my editorial, because when I met them this
    summer, they were very pleasant and friendly).
    2. Christopher Gores D- A "Yank" who captained the Islanders who they
    "Naturalized" according to FIFA rules (technically we
    share the same citizenship with PR because they are
    a US territory/commonwealth). Tough player who
    really should be in MLS. Excellent leader who directs
    the defense from center.
    3. Toal Joseph MF/F- A Honduran who moved to the island years ago. He
    holds at least US Permanent Residency status and
    has represented PR before. He's young 23, hungry
    and competetive. His Honduran roots and development
    give him football insights that many of his PR raised
    teamates do not have.

    4) Follow Up Question and Miscellaneous:
    Marco Velez has joined the team. Marco is from the same hometown as mi wife, so I follow his progress closely. I was not sure if he would risk playing for PR at the SR. National level because the Armas incident left many people aware that to do so was a risk. Marco is an excellent player who should very well be in MLS this year and who really should have been their last season (some think that he got cut by the MetroStars when it should have been US National Team Coach, Bruce Arena's son Kenny who should have been cut. I'm biased, so I won't comment). It is not unheard of to see guys jump from the A-League to MLS and then BLOW UP, right into Arena's plans (example, Marc Ching with the SJ Earthquakes).

    The big surprise--that quite honestly, I will beleive when I see--is MAN U's Daniel Nardiello. According to FPF president, Jose Serralta (another editorial: another person who has been very kind to me), he has actually committed. They are trying to negotiate a release date for him from Man U that will not inconvience them too much. I cannot, for the life of me understand why he would make such a move. If I am correct, it was N. Ireland Fan who pointed out that he could still eventually play for Wales, in addition to England and USA (which we already knew). It seems a bit foolish to me. He has already played for ENG U-21, I believe. Why he would make a move than will prevent him from potentially playing for one of his other possibilities is beyond me... I just can't comprehend it.

    Chris Armas brother is not in the picture at all to my knowledge.

    There is also mention of a guy named Phil Gomez Padilla that was playing the US 3rd Division, Pro-League. I don't know anything about him so I can't comment further. So far, I haven't been able to learn anything about him or his playing background.

    The Federation is continuing to search the globe, especially MLS, the lower divisions and college ranks for more players of PR birth or heritage. They are also considering "naturalizing" more players, most of whom would be Yanks. I think it is a bit telling that the other key Yanks (other than Gores) who play with the Islanders apparently declined invitations to "naturalize". The Armas thing and similar situations in other countries has made people think twice about taking the decision to play at the Sr. National level lightly.

    If you want to know anything else about PR Soccer please don't hesitate to contact me here on Big Soccer or I can send you my email address if you like.

    Thanks for caring...
    USA&PR forever
  6. northern ireland fan

    Aug 10, 2001
    Thats pretty comprehensive - thanks. I hope to be in contact when its nearer the games - its a bit hard keeping up with any news, due to the fact that everything is in spanish, which i have little need for in sunny belfast (why doesn't the Puerto Rican FA website have an English translation ?)

    being a N. Ireland fan its easy to follow the underdog, so go Puerto rico - we beat trinidad+tobago 3.0 in their own gaff over the summer, so they couldn't be that good!
  7. yankiboy

    yankiboy New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    In my opinion, the FPF website is in Spanish (like every other island based sports website) because--even though most (supposedly) "well-educated" people & people under 45 speak English, and they are a US affiliated commonwealth with US citizenship and the good old $--Spanish represents their cultural identity to them. It is very symbolic.

    Thanks for the positive thoughts regarding beating T&T but PR is no N.Ireland. I would be happy for a 2-0 loss. If we beat Surinam even 1-0 (not likely), we would be in great shape by the time we face Grenada. That is very wishful thinking. More on that later...
  8. SeattleSupporter

    Aug 17, 2004
    North Sound Ultra
    I've watched Marco for the last year and a half here in Seattle. I really like what he has brought to our club.
    He's a hard nose player, that can also add a goal or two here and there.

  9. yankiboy

    yankiboy New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Thanks for posting the pic, Seattle Supporter. Allmost all of the Sounders fans than I have met on the A-League.com have very good things to say about Marco's progress. A lot of Islanders' fans want him to return to PR to play with the Islanders but I think that is a bit shortsighted. I am hoping that he will get picked up by Utah or maybe (gulp) Chivas USA. Maybe he will find his way to an established MLS franchise. Who knows. The great thing about playing with the PR national team and an MLS club is that he can play in back or play up front like he did at times with the Sounders. It should be interesting to see what happens.
  10. X X I

    X X I Red Card

    Apr 9, 2004

  11. Latin Pride

    Latin Pride Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    In your house
    Olimpia Asuncion
    Nat'l Team:
    Incase nobody knows the result of that game, Trinidad beat PR 5-0 :(
  12. X X I

    X X I Red Card

    Apr 9, 2004
    Shhhhh. :eek:

    (Not surprising considering that I could start on the Islanders and perhaps be their leading scorer.)

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