Thursday, December 10, 2009
BAYAMON, PR – Puerto Rico Islanders head coach Colin Clarke has been logging some frequent flyer miles of late as the collegiate season winds to a close, scouting player prospects for the immediate and long-term future of the club.
Clarke recently attended the ACC Championship tournament in early November at Wakemed Soccer Park in Cary, NC and the NAIA Championship in Fresno, CA in late November. At the ACC tournament November 10-15, Clarke saw some of the nation’s top collegiate programs as the conference has produced several national champions in recent years and has three teams (North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest) heading this weekend to the NCAA College Cup, which Clarke will also be attending.
The NAIA tournament, which featured 16 teams playing at Fresno Pacific’s Ramirez Field, carries a different pool of talent to the Division I schools, giving Clarke a complimentary set of players to review.
“I saw some pretty good players at the NAIA tournament that are young foreign players,” he said. “They changed their rules, and now they are a lot younger than they used to be.”
Lindsey Wilson College (Kentucky) finished as the NAIA champions, claiming their eighth title (1995-96, 1998-2001, 2005, 2009).
Clarke’s trip back to Cary will not be the end of his travels for the year as he will also be going to the UK for the holidays. It will not solely be a vacation, however, as he will be donning the scouting cap while he is there.
“I’m heading back to England, and will have a look at a few players there,” he said.
Clarke also said that through contacts there are a number of other players interested in coming to USL-1 that the club may look at, particularly some who want to get out of Africa and become professional players.