New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has purchased an NASL expansion team that will play its home games in Puerto Rico, the league announced Thursday.
Anthony's club, Puerto Rico FC, will begin play in 2016 as the league's 13th team. It will be Puerto Rico's second NASL team. The Puerto Rico Islanders played in the NASL in 2011 and 2012, and in other leagues from 2004–10. Anthony's club is a new team, not a revival of the Islanders.
Anthony and his wife, La La, are of Puerto Rican descent and are involved with multiple charities on the island.
“The more time I started spending in Puerto Rico over the past six, seven years I realized that there was kind of a void down there on my island,” Anthony told ESPN FC. “The island didn't really have anything that they could kind of call their own, that they could represent not just on the island but from a global standpoint.”
Puerto Rico FC's home stadium will be Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, the primary stadium for the Puerto Rican national team. It is located in Bayamon, just outside the capital of San Juan, and has a capacity of 12,500.
“The NASL is honored to return to Puerto Rico, where the passion for soccer is extraordinary,” NASL commissioner Bill Peterson said in a statement. “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.”
- Dan Gartland