The Puerto Rico Islanders 2011 pre-season camp begins as temperature rises in Puerto Rico. With 14 players from the 2010 squad, 3 new signings, and 13 trialists, Colin Clarke and his coaching staff have a lot of work in their hands.
The players have been training twice a day, physical conditioning in the morning at Dorado’s golf course, and practice in the afternoon at Bayamon Soccer Complex. “Training has been great. Most of the players came in good physical condition and we have been able to start working on our game as well”, said Assistant Coach Adrian Whitbread. “With temperatures in the high 80’s (F) you better be in shape to go through this, and players have managed to do so”, he added.
“There are very high expectations from us this year. We need to work hard during camp in order to achieve our goals because everyone will want to beat last year’s champs”, said Marco Vélez during a press conference. “We are very fortunate to have a large group of guys coming back from last year’s team, and the new guys are good pleople as well as great players. So I am sure we will maintain our team chemistry and will be able to achieve great things this year as well”, said Noah Delgado.
Jay Needham who started his professional career with the Islanders in 2007 and earned he Rookie of the Year award, is very excited to be back in Puerto Rico. “I had a great experience in Europe and was always following the Islanders’ success over the Internet. It feels great to be back with this group of guys”, said Needham. Aaron Pitchkolan, another new signing, said “Obviously you want to play a lot of games in a high level, and the Islanders participating in the NASL and CONCACAF is a huge draw-in for anybody”.
The Islanders’ pre-season camp will consist of training sessions and games against local teams. More details about the games will be provided as we get confirmation from teams and venues.