By: BoriQa | January 27th, 2009

The 2008 USL Regular Season Champions, the Puerto Rico Islanders, kicked started their 2009 preseason training at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium yesterday (January 26th).

The following returning players were present at the practice: Bill Gaudette (2008 USL Goalie of the Year), Jonathan Steele (2008 USL MVP), Christian Arrieta (2008 USL Defender of the Year), Noah Delgado, Alexis Rivera, Andres Cabrero, Daniel Ojeda, John Krause, Sandy Gbandi, Nigel Henry, William Yomby, James Marcelin, Osei Telesford and Justin Myers.

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The following new faces (all with previous USL experience) joined the team in the first day of practice: Nick Addlery (Vancouver Whitecaps), Martin Nuñez (Carolina Railhawks) and Sean Fraser (Miami FC). Former MLS Red Bulls’ Kevin Mesa, and two “imported” newcomers, Kevon Villaroel (Trinidad & Tobago) and Nicolas Torres (Argentina), were also at the practice.

Returning Islander players missing at the practice yesterday were Petter Villegas (arrives today), Kendall Jagdeosingh (away playing with the Trinidad & Tobago National Team), and Fabrice Noël.

As for the preseason games, 2009 will be nothing like 2008. In last year’s preseason the Islanders (in preparation of their May encounter with the San Juan Jabloteh from Trinidad & Tobago to define the 3rd Caribbean team to play in the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League) defeated the University of Central Florida Knights (6-1), the USA Under-17 team (6-0) and Florida’s Panama City Pirates (1-0).

This year the Islanders (in preparation of their February-March encounter with Marathon from Honduras in the quarterfinals of the inaugural CONCACAF League of Champions) will face three MLS teams in the preseason: the Chicago Fire (Feb 7), the 2008 MLS Champion Columbus Crew (Feb 10) and DC United (Feb 21).