Puerto Rico is back in the soccer world at the club level. Announced June 11th, basketball star Carmelo Anthony will be the new owner of Puerto Rico FC. They will began playing in the fall of 2016, in the NASL. I admit, I don’t follow the NASL (North American Soccer League). If you have never heard of it, it is the 2nd division on the North American soccer pyramid.
Even though the NASL isn’t top flight soccer, they don’t work with, or affiliated with MLS. They have their own commissioner, who does have visions of expanding his league to 18-20 by 2018. Most, if not all the NASL teams have tried or expressed interests in joining MLS, with Atlanta and Minnesota joining MLS in a few years. But, with social media and soccer growing in this country, the NASL is having some success. Starting is 2014, ESPN3 signed a deal with the league to broadcast all their games. Of the 11 teams who played last fall, 2 averaged attendance under 4,000 but not by much. The league wide average has been going up since 2011, from 3700, to 5400 last year. Along with Puerto Rico, there will be a total 4 new franchises set to begin play next year, bringing the number of teams to 15.
You are probably thinking the level of play might not be that good, right? Yes a little bit. It is not the top level of soccer in America, but plenty of foreign players looking for playing are coming over. But in soccer, you never know where the next talented play will come from. Plenty of good players all around the world at one point got their start in the lower divisions. In fact just this week, Miguel Ibarra, from the Minnesota United, was bought by one of the top Mexican teams. Ibarra was in hot form the last few years, even getting attention of the National team manager Jurgen, where he has played him 3 times since last summer.
Why does this matter here in Worcester? Because there are many living in Worcester from the Island of Enchantment, some of which I’m willing to bet are soccer fans.
— AtTheBuzzer (@TheBuzzerOnFOX) June 11, 2015