February 16, 2009
PR ISLANDERS FC
The Puerto Rico Islanders announce that they have signed a 3-year contract with Head Coach Colin Clarke. «I am happy and excited to be back. I am also looking forward to the new season and the challenges of continuing to build a successful franchise from the youth academy all the way to the professional team that will give the kids of Puerto Rico a Club that they can be proud and aspire to be a part of. We had a great year last year and we need to build on it and be challenging for all honors every year» said Clarke.
After a slow start in the 2007 season, Coach Clarke was brought in to the Islanders for the remaining of the season. Clarke turned things around and took the team all the way to the USL semi-finals. Under Head Coach Clarke, the Islanders played in the CFU Club Champions reaching the 3rd place in the Caribbean, earning them a spot in the new Concacaf Champions League. On January 2008, Clarke was appointed Head Coach of Puerto Rico’s National Team.
In 2008, the Islanders had their most successful season in their history. During Clarke’s second season as head coach and the teams 5th in the USL, the Islanders proved local and international football fans what they are capable of. They earned the USL Commissioner’s Cup for ending up in first place on the USL Regular Season. Made it all the way to the Championship Game against the Vancouver Whitecaps staying short by a goal. The Islanders and Clarke made history in their participation on the CONCACAF Champions League by beating teams such as LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Santos Laguna (México), and Tauro FC (Panamá) and tying CD Municipal (Guatemala) all champions of their respective countries. Furthermore, the Islanders were awarded the title of Organization of the Year by the USL, and the individual awards were earned by Colin Clarke as Coach of the Year, Bill Gaudette as Goalkeeper of the Year, Cristian Arrieta as Defender of the Year, and Jonathan Steele as the Most Valuable Player of the USL.
The 2008 USL Coach of the Year comes back for 3 more years and promises even greater achievements for the PR Islanders FC in the United Soccer Leagues and CONCACAF. «Coach Clarke has earned the respect of local and international soccer fans. He has brought us to the next level and we are confident that he will continue to do so. He is committed with Puerto Rico and the development of soccer in the Island. We are looking forward to a great future with Colin Clarke as part of our organization», said BOD member Mario Gaztambide.
Earlier this year, during the ASES awards at the Puerto Rico Sports Museum, Colin Clarke was awarded the 2008 Coach of the Year of all sports in the Island, while the PR Islanders were named the 2008 Team of the Year.
Colin Clarke and the PR Islanders are back in Puerto Rico from their pre-season camp in Bradenton, Florida. The Islanders will face DC United of the MLS on February 21st in preparation for their biggest match in franchise history, the Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals against CD Marathon of Honduras on February 26 at the JRL Stadium.