New York, NY - Earlier this week Cristiano Ronaldo was ranked 44th by Forbes in their annual Top 100 Celebrity list. Combining his $20 million salary which he makes playing with Real Madrid, he earned a total of $42 million. He also has deals with several companies such as Nike and Castro.
While he slightly fared better than his La Liga rival Lionel Messi who was ranked 50th and earned $39 million, he was no match for Major League Soccer’s own David Beckham. Even though Beckham is 37 years old, he earned $46 million and was ranked 32nd by Forbes.
While it’s easy to recognize the names of Ronaldo, Messi and Beckham, it’s easy not to notice Fana, Ford and Telesford. Who are they you ask? They’re members of the North American Soccer Club (NASL), the Puerto Rico Islanders.
Yep, you guessed it! I’m going to utilize the names of Ronaldo, Beckham and Messi to discuss the Puerto Rico Islanders. You may want to click to another page but you will miss the opportunity to learn about this fantastic club.
For a country that’s recognized for their baseball, boxing and basketball, Puerto Rico can now include soccer on their sports resume! As the defending champions, the Islanders are now officially one of the best soccer clubs in North America.
Founded in 2003, the Puerto Rico Islanders is a professional soccer franchise that prior to joining the NASL for the 2011 season competed in the United Soccer Leagues (USL). Initially, the Islanders weren’t considered contenders but all of that changed on May 22, 2007 when the team appointed Colin Clarke as coach.
During his time with the Islanders, Clarke was recognized by the media and fans as El General. Clarke’s “no-nonsense” approach and fierce discipline made the Islanders into championship contenders and has restored pride in their orange and white jerseys.
In addition, Coach Clarke and his coaching staff turned the Islanders, once regarded as a laughingstock, into a fierce and competitive team. Prior to the 2010 season, their most successful season was in 2008, when the Islanders earned the USL Commissioner’s Cup for having the best regular season record.
Along with the Commissioner’s Cup, the Islanders won the Organization of the Year. Additionally, the Islanders also swept the USL individual awards as they won Coach of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Defender of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
Under Coach Clarke’s leadership, the Islanders have successfully competed in Division-II soccer as well as in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they fought North and Latin America’s best soccer clubs tooth and nail.
Along with the team’s marvelous 2008 to 2010 campaigns, the Islanders have put on back to back to back solid performances in the CONCACAF Champions League. Teams from Major League Soccer, the Mexican and Honduran Leagues are now aware of “Los Mata-gigantes” tenacity the Islanders compete.
In the 2010 Champions League, they eliminated Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy from the tournament. At the time of the CONCACAF Champions League, Landon Donovan’s L.A. Galaxy had the best record in MLS.
No longer coached by Clarke, the Islanders are now lead by Adrian Whitbread. In seven games into the 2012 NASL season, the Islanders hold the league’s best record. At 5-1-1, Puerto Rico has outscored their opponents 15-4
What’s more impressive about the Islanders on the pitch success is their off the pitch activities. The front office as well as the coaching staff & players, have really gone above and beyond in getting involved with the community. From viewing parties to creating a social awareness on certain causes, the Islanders are winning the hearts of Puerto Ricans.
While they may not have the history of a Manchester United or Real Madrid, the Islanders are making history and it’s one you can easily be part of. Support La Tropa Naranja and follow the Puerto Rico Islanders!