Posted 23 Jan 2009 at 05:50 PM by Breton Bonnette

The Puerto Rico Islanders BigSoccer Topics are going to be a bit busy in 2009. With the new USL-1 season on the horizon, in past years that would normally be the only competition the Islanders had to focus on. Now rewind back to 2008 and the unveiling of the CONCACAF Champions League. With the inaugural CCL, Puerto Rico had to vie for one of three berths out of the Caribbean by way of the CFU, the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship. Last year, the Islanders grabbed the last berth after winning a home-away tie with San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad and Tobago. Great, right? But how can a USL-1 team not even threatening to win their own league stand a chance against CONCACAF powerhouses like Santos BigSoccer Topics Laguna of the FMF and Municipal of Guatemala? Well, Puerto Rico answered, fighting through Alajuelense of Costa Rica in the prelim rounds and flourishing, surprisingly, in the group stages, qualifying for the knockout rounds despite a dip in form late in the round. They now await a Quarterfinal clash with Marathon of Honduras in late February and early March.

It looks like their success looks to continue in the 2009-2010 version of the CCL with great news heading into the qualification round (CFU). Puerto Rico enters late March’s CFU only needing one win out of two opponents to grab another berth. Why just one? They’ll open the bid for qualification in the semifinals. That’s some much deserved respect or luck…either way they’ll take it. The Islanders will have to thank Portmore United of Jamaica and SV Racing of Aruba for deciding to stay home this year – citing financial difficulties and stadium deficiencies – prompting CONCACAF officials to find another way to format the tournament. This, along with the Montreal Impact’s success in the same arena, piggybacks on the recent partnership set up between the Colorado Rapids and USL-2’s Real Maryland. With the CCL coming close to starting back up, it’s nice to see the USL’s continued progression. You would think it would lead to more MLS BigSoccer Topics opportunities for those directly contributing to Montreal’s and Puerto Rico’s success, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case. That should change a bit this year with Major League Soccer doing away with the reserve division. What do you think? Could we see MLS teams looking more to the United Soccer Leagues for talent, more loan deals? Possibly even more partnerships like the one just forged between Colorado and the Monarchs? There’s been a small rise in activity so far, so the answer could be yes. Anything to be said about – Macoumba Kandji BigSoccer Topics from Atlanta to RBNY; LeToux, Graham, Eylander sticking with the new MLS Sounders FC, Leonard Griffin – Portland vet to the Galaxy, Boyzzz Khumalo and Greg Janicki signing permnanently with DC, Peter Byers to San Jose by way of Montreal…

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Hell, if former Championship Manager stud Gifton Noel-Williams thinks the USL is good enough for him [he’ll be suiting up for USL-1 new boys Austin Aztex BigSoccer Topics], then they must be doing something right…Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch.