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Friday May 23, 2008
Donde Quiera Blog


Players from the PR Capitals.

Puerto Rico Capitals Soccer

It's interesting when entrepreneurs, investors, and marketers look at an opportunity, and see something others don't. Then despite nay sayers, they remain passionate about the opportunity, persevere, remain committed, and ultimately emerge successful. Two such examples in recent Puerto Rican business history are Starbucks and Soccer. We here at DóndeEs.com hope that we fit into that group as well, time and you will only tell.

Many said Starbucks would never take off here. Who is going to pay those astronomical coffee prices when most people are used to paying panaderia prices for coffee. With 25 stores and growing, I think we know who was wrong about that initial perception.

Well another similar story applies to soccer. As I understand it, when the initial team of investors, management, and marketers came together for the Puerto Rico Islanders, many said that Puerto Ricans would never accept soccer (or football as the rest of the world calls it). Once again, we know who was right, and as further proof, this weekend, the Puerto Rico Capitals will inaugurate the first professional women's soccer team in Puerto Rico.

The inaugural match will take place this Saturday, May 24th at 6:00 p.m., against the FC Thomasville Dragons. The match will take place in the
Estadio Solá Morales in Cauguas, which as is the case for the Puerto Rico Islanders will be converted into a soccer field for the game. The inaugural match will be free of charge and will be broadcast on PRTN Channel 22.

Introducing the Puerto Rico Capitals

The Puerto Rico Capitals FC will join the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) for the 2008 season, and are the first team outside the mainland US to play in the league. The club will begin operations with a senior WPSL team and later add a junior U-17 developmental squad. Dedicated to the long-term development of girls and women's soccer in Puerto Rico, the Capitals plan to field rosters that highlight Puerto Rican natives and players of Puerto Rican heritage.

The Capitals will return to to play again in Caguas, when they host Palm Beach United on Saturday, June 7th and the Orlando Falcons on Sunday, June 8th.

 

Thursday May 8, 2008
By GABRIELLE PAESEgpaese@sjstar.net
 

PR Capitals women's soccer team makes final roster picks

The Puerto Rico Capitals on Wednesday announced the final trim for their roster in preparation for their Women's Premier Soccer League debut May 24 at Caguas' Sola Morales Stadium versus the Thomasville (Georgia) Dragons.

As anticipated, team president Luis Murphy is using mostly native talent. Most of the players are students at stateside universities and were either born on the island or are of Puerto Rican descent. The team features seven local high school players and Puerto Rico Soccer Federation president Joe Serralta said that the emphasis is on player development, particularly with an eye toward creating a competitive women's national team for FIFA play.

Elena Bou, Andrea Gines and Frances Marrero (Academia Maria Reina), Gabriela Vaquer (IMG Academy, Fla.), Zuleika Santiago (Nuestra Senora del Carmen), Sofia Grossman (Wesleyan Academy), Adriana Goiricelaya (CPN) and Krizia Charres (Pembroke Pines Charter High) are the high school players  on the team, which will see action in the league's South Conference versus franchises in Miami, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, Orlando and Central Florida.

Head coach Robert Parr selected top collegiate players from both the states and the local Intercollegiate Athletic League, including Jennifer Munoz (Hamilton College), Monica Sanchez, Hannah and Judith Ospina (Columbus State), Julie Arroyo (Becker College), Nastassia Rodriguez (Florida International), Carmen Reyes (University of Montana), Christina Rodriguez (UPR), Denisse Soltero (RUM), Lynned Perez (Flagler College), Patricia Chapa (UPR), Viviana Fiol (UPR-Cayey) Kelsey Worth and Silvia Lugo (Barry University), Martha Liz Taboas (Polk Community College), Ednie Limage (Turabo) and Jesmine Lora (UPR).

"Our commitment is to the national team players, to develop the talent," said team president Luis Murphy Wednesday. "Puerto Rico has very talented players who have not had the chance to show their caliber at the international level. The Capitals will give them that chance."

Federation president Serralta has seen the women's senior team and the U-17 team regional rankings jump this past year following regional (CONCACAF) tournaments. The U-17 girls, in fact, are one tournament away from qualifying for their World Cup, having beaten both Bermuda and Anguilla already in the region. They will play in July versus seven other teams with five advancing.
Serralta said the Capitals franchise fits perfectly into the federation's development plans because it provides a competitive summer environment for the U-17 national team. He stressed that 50 percent of the federation's budget is dedicated to women's soccer . The local federation gets an estimated quarter of a million dollars annually from FIFA for soccer development.

Capitals franchise president Luis Murphy said the inaugural game will mark the first time the 47-team totally amateur league holds a match outside the continental United States. Soccer Federation president Joe Serralta said neither the federation nor the Sports and Recreation Department have numbers on how many girls on the island play soccer . An estimated 25,000 people play on either federation or recreational soccer teams island wide. Yet in many cases, the teams are mixed, boys with girls, because women's soccer is not yet organized into formal leagues.

The team's home games will be shown on Channel 22 (Liberty) and on Channel 27 (Choice and One Link). In addition, the players and the coaching staff will offer summer camps for girls ages 6-14 running from June 2-13 and again from June 16-25 at the recreation facilities of Caguas Norte II. Because spaces are limited, parents should call (787) 601-5422 or e-mail prcapitals@yahoo.com to register. Finally, all home games at Sola Morales Stadium will be free of charge for this season.

 

Saturday April 19, 2008
By Greg Lee Staff writer (SR.com)

Carmen Reyes

Soccer player returning to her roots

Carmen Reyes always thought the sport of soccer could open doors that she might not otherwise have an opportunity to walk through.

She'll find out how true that is this summer when the sport takes the Coeur d'Alene High graduate to her paternal roots. Her father's grandparents were born in Puerto Rico, and that heritage will allow Carmen Reyes to play for Puerto Rico's first Women's Premier Soccer League team.

The Puerto Rico Capitals F.C. will be based out of Caguas, a town about 25 miles from the country's capital, San Juan.

Carmen's family roots run deep in Puerto Rico. Her grandfather, who died last summer, was born in San Juan. Her great-grandmother was born in Caguas. Her other great-grandmother from her father's family also was born in Puerto Rico. Carmen Maria Reyes was named after both great-grandmothers.

"I'm just astonished to have this opportunity," said Reyes, who is finishing up her freshman year at the University of Montana.

Reyes headed to Montana last fall thinking she would redshirt during her first collegiate season. But Montana coach Neil Sedgwick liked what he saw during preseason practices, and he decided she could play right away. She ended up playing nearly 30 minutes per match.

She wasn't even used at the position she played during high school. She was a standout defender, especially her senior season when Coeur d'Alene captured the State 5A championship. But at Montana, she played mostly midfielder.

For the Puerto Rican WPSL team, though, Reyes will play defender. She was given an invitation to play for the team without having to attend the tryout held in Caguas the first weekend in April.

All the players on the WPSL team have to either be natives or have family ties to Puerto Rico. Reyes fit the latter criteria.

"We extended offers for half of our roster spots to players based on resumes, references and experience," Puerto Rico coach Robert Parr said. "In Carmen's case, we felt her credentials as a youth and collegiate player would help us succeed."

She will travel to Puerto Rico in mid-May as soon as she finishes school at Montana. The team's first match is May 24, and the season continues through late July with 15 regular-season matches. The team's home matches will be aired on its Web site.

One of the main reasons Puerto Rico was granted a WPSL franchise is because the country wants to develop a stronger national team that can become more competitive at World Cup and Olympic levels, Parr said. Six current members of the country's national team will play on the WPSL team.

WPSL teams are comprised largely of players with collegiate eligibility. A smaller faction of players is top high school-age players and an even smaller number of players have just completed their college careers.

The WPSL consists of 48 teams in five conferences. The Puerto Rico team will play in the WPSL's South Conference against Florida teams from Miami, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach and Orlando.

Parr was hired as Puerto Rico's coach after spending the last five years as women's head coach at Georgia College and State University, an NCAA Division II program.

Reyes is believed to be the second player from North Idaho to play in the WPSL. Former Sandpoint standout Jesyca Rosholt, who went on to play at Oklahoma State, played on the River Cities F.C. team near St. Louis last year. The team folded after last season.

Reyes hopes the WPSL opportunity will open the door to a return invitation next year. Her ultimate dream is to play on the Puerto Rican national team.

She also believes the immediate benefit is it will better prepare her for her sophomore year at Montana.

Spanish is the primary language in Puerto Rico. Reyes took three years of Spanish at CdA, but hasn't had to use it in more than a year.

"I'll have to brush up on it," she said.

Even though Parr is receiving Reyes sight unseen, he has an idea the type of player he's getting.

"She's grown up playing in the U.S. club system and played for a good (high school-age) club team," Parr said. "She also has ODP (Olympic Development Program) experience, and she's in a (NCAA) Division I program where she got regular playing time last fall. Those are the types of athletes who fill out WPSL teams and succeed in the WPSL. She's been playing all spring for her college team so she'll be coming in with a high fitness level."

Being able to go to Puerto Rico is the start of fulfilling Reyes' overall dream.

"My main goal in life is to have as many cultural experiences as possible and travel around the world," she said. "So why not start some place where I have family ties?"

Reyes admits she's more than a bit anxious.

"It's a good nervous," she said. "I'm nervous about what I'm going to bring to the table and what (her teammates) are going to bring to the table. I'm going to be playing against some of the best players in the world. I have a lot of questions. What am I getting myself into? Can I play at that level? I sure hope I can. I'm planning on it."

She'll find out soon.


Wednesday April 9, 2008  
By GABRIELLE PAESE gpaese@sjstar.net


Puerto Rico Capitals coach Robert Parr and his assistants Michelle Parr and Carlos Toro made the final cut of 33 players that will make up the adult and the U-17 development teams.

Capitals Trim Rosters for both Teams

Caguas, P.R. (04/09/08) After two days of tryouts in Caguas, Puerto Rico Capitals coach Robert Parr and his assistants Michelle Parr and Carlos Toro made the final cut of 33 players that will make up the adult and the U-17 development teams for the Women's Premier Soccer League team play that gets underway May 24 when the Capitals host their first game versus the Thomasville (Georgia) Dragons at Caguas' Solá Morales Stadium.

"I'm pleased with the quality we have seen," said Robert Parr, who added that his first priority was to get players who could keep up with the level of competition. Midfielders Patricia Chapa, Denisse Soltero, Viviana Fiol and forward Christina "Chispi" Rodríguez head the list of the 17 selected. Joining them will be Jenn Munoz, July Arroyo, Lynned Pérez and Martha Liz Taboas, all players of Puerto Rican descent.

Prior to the tryout, the Capitals had already signed Monica Sánchez and twins Hannah and Judith Ospina, all out Columbus State University in Georgia. Also signed were Kelsey Worth (Barry University, Florida), Silvia Lugo (Barry University, Florida), Gabriela Vaquer (IMG Academy HS, Florida) and Carmen Reyes (University of Montana). The Capitals reinforcement players are Cuban Nastassia Rodríguez and Haiti's Ednie Limage, who played with her country's national team.

In tryouts for the U-17 development team, Elena Bou, Adriana Goiricelaya, Andrea Ginés, Zuleyka Santiago, Paola Díaz, Frances Marrero, Sofía Grossman, Sofía Padilla and others were chosen. Puerto Rico Capitals FC Caguas officially begin practices tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Caguas Norte II. Alexandra Vega is the team's trainer.

Capitals franchise president Luis Murphy said the inaugural game will mark the first time the 48- team league holds a match outside the continental United States. Geography is just one of whole long list of firsts. The totally amateur league is a developmental league for both national teams and colleges and Womens's soccer development in Puerto Rico is still in its infancy.


Tuesday April 1, 2008  
By CAPITALS MEDIA capitals@wpsl.info

New South Conference side announces that Robert & Michelle Parr will lead team in Summer 2008

P.R. Capitals Hire Parr As Coach

CAGUAS, PR (04/01/08) - The Puerto Rico Capitals F.C. organization is proud to announce that they have hired Robert Parr as their Director of Coaching and Head Coach for their inaugural season in the South Conference of the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL). Parr was the head coach of the Georgia College & State University women's soccer team (Division II) for the past four years. Capitals President Luis A. Murphy also announced the hiring of his wife Michelle as Assistant Director of Coaching and Goalkeeping Coach.

"We are very excited bringing Robert to the Capitals, his experience working with players of all ages and ability levels will help our organization to develop our program and achieve our immediate goals," said Murphy. "Michelle brings over 17 years of goalkeeping coaching experience and a USSF 'B' National Coaching License to the Capitals."

Robert was hired in the spring of 2003 to be the GCSU program's first head coach. After operating as a club sport in 2003, Parr guide the Bobcats to a 5-10-2 record in their first season at the varsity level in 2004 and then 9-6-2 overall record and 3-3-2 conference mark in 2005. He added a 6-7-4 ledger with a 2-4-3 conference mark in 2006 and a 13-5 overall mark last fall.

He received his USSF 'A' National Coaching License in 1991 and a USSF National Youth Coaching license in 1999. Robert currently coaches the Georgia 91 ODP State Team and previously was the Director of Training for the American Soccer Club "Eagles" - a select soccer program in Austin, TX.

During his eight years with the Eagles, he coached hundreds of players and helped place nearly 50 players on collegiate soccer teams in 12 different states. He led three teams on separate trips to Europe, touring eight nations and coaching teams in two of the world's largest youth tournaments - the Norway Cup (Oslo, 1999) and the Dana Cup (Denmark, 2001).

From 1989 until 1995, Robert was the Head Coach of the University of Texas Men's Soccer Team, where he led the program to a National Collegiate Club Championship in 1990, three other National Tournament appearances, an NCCSA Southern Regional Championship in 1993, a pair of TCSL League Championships in 1990 and 1991, one title at the Monterrey Tech (Mexico) International Tournament in 1992, and an overall record of 80-25-16. Robert also served as the South Texas Men's State Team Coach from 1996-1998 and he spent 11 years as a member of the South Texas YSA State Coaching Staff.

Michelle currently serves as the goalkeeping coach for the Georgia 91 ODP State Team, and she was a State Staff Coach for the South Texas Olympic Development Program from 1993-2002. She was an original member of the American Soccer Club "Eagles" coaching staff where she provided weekly instruction to all of the club's goalkeepers for 13 years (1990-2003). In 2002, she received the April Heinrichs/Nike Coaching Education Scholarship in recognition of her work with female players.

Michelle played in goal for the inaugural NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Team at the University of Texas at Austin, where she led the region in saves as team captain and was named Most Valuable Athlete. She returned to college soccer as the starting keeper for the inaugural GCSU soccer team, leading the Peach Belt Conference in saves in 2004 as well as earning PBC All-Tournament honors that year.
As a youth player, Michelle played on the Region III U-16 and U-19 ODP teams, and was a member of the U-19 U.S. Women's National Team Pool. In 1997, Michelle was again selected to the South Region Team and played in the U.S. Soccer Festival in Blaine, MN and later played for the Austin Lady Lone Stars in 1999 and 2000.

The WPSL is a 48-team national women's soccer league with five conferences and holds the distinction of being one of the top leagues in the world. The mission of the league is to provide the highest level of women's soccer while simultaneously providing affordable, quality family entertainment and positive role models for our youth. For more information on the WPSL, visit the official website at http://www.wpsl.info.


Wednesday Feb 27, 2008
By GABRIELLE PAESE gpaese@sjstar.net

Adriana Goiricelaya, Jezmin Lora, Caguas Mayor Willie Miranda Marín, Elena Bou, Zuleyka Santiago and Puerto Rico National Team Captain Patricia Chapa.

Women’s soccer team, P.R. Capitals, will call Caguas home

The island’s newest Women’s Premier Soccer League franchise is called the Puerto Rico Capitals, but don’t look for them in San Juan. That’s because Capitals in this case does not stand for capital city, but rather, as Caguas Mayor Willie Miranda Marin would call it, the capital of sports – Caguas. Sola Morales Stadium, idle for three months after the shutdown of the Puerto Rico Winter League, will again come to life beginning May 24 when the Capitals host their first game versus the Thomasville (Georgia) Dragons on the facility’s artificial turf.

Capitals franchise president Luis Murphy pointed out Tuesday that the game will mark the first time the 47-team league holds a match outside the continental United States. Geography is just one of whole long list of firsts. The totally amateur league is a developmental league for both national teams and colleges and women’s soccer development in Puerto Rico is still in its infancy.

Soccer Federation president Joe Serralta said neither the federation nor the Sports and Recreation Department have numbers on how many girls on the island play soccer. An estimated 25,000 people play on either federation or recreational soccer Teams Island wide. Yet in many cases, the teams are mixed, boys with girls, because women’s soccer is not yet organized into formal leagues.

Serralta, however, is aware of the potential for the women’s and girl’s teams, having seen the women’s senior team and the U-17 team regional rankings jump this past year following regional (CONCACAF) tournaments. The U-17 girls, in fact, are one tournament away from qualifying for their World Cup, having beaten both Bermuda and Anguilla already in the region. They will play in July versus seven other teams with five advancing.

Serralta said the Capitals franchise fits perfectly into the federation’s development plans because it provides a competitive summer environment for the U-17 national team. He stressed that 50 percent of the federation’s budget is dedicated to women’s soccer. The local federation gets an estimated quarter of a million dollars annually from FIFA for soccer development. The Capitals will play in the league’s South conference versus franchises in Miami, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, Orlando and Central Florida.

Team tryouts are set for April 5 and 6. Those dates were specifically selected to allow the women playing collegiate soccer to attend during their spring break. Already signed are national senior team players Patricia Chapa, Denisse Soltero and Jezmine Lora as well as Silvia Lugo, Adriana Goiricelaya, Zuleika Santiago and Elena Bou.

Serralta said he hopes the league’s presence will inspire the Intercollegiate Athletic League (LAI by its Spanish acronym) to include women’s soccer in its curriculum. College soccer is not an option locally for the women, dozens of whom find their way stateside to play in NCAA Division I and II schools on scholarship.

Murphy said he would like to increase the number of girls playing at the collegiate level and hopes the team will help grow the sport locally.

League Commissioner Joe Ferrara said he hopes the Capitals franchise will provide a playing outlet for the dozens of Puerto Rican women playing stateside. Murphy promised that the team’s composition would be entirely Puerto Rican, except for the allotted three import players. Chapa, meanwhile, said she thinks there will be a surplus of talent.

“The game is growing here and a lot of women [from Puerto Rico] are playing in the states,” said Chapa, who is currently training with the Jerezanas club team. Bou, 15, represents the future of local soccer, Murphy said. The Academia Maria Reina student, who, along with Andrea Ginés, will lead her high school team to PRHSAA semifinals this Friday, said she got started in soccer at the age of 7 because her cousins played.

The new team has the support of Sports and Recreation, including its Women in Sport program.
“For a sport to develop, it needs the support from both the central and municipal government,” Serralta stressed. “[Sports and Recreation Secretary David] Bernier has been a key figure in giving women’s soccer a budget for the first time.”

Ferrara emphasized the league’s quality of play. International players such as Daniela (Brazil), Heather Garrock (Australia), Ouying Zhang (China) all play in the WPSL as do U.S. team current players Shannon Boxx, Leslie Osbourne, Lori Chalupny and Nicole Barnhart and former players such as Brandi Chastain and Sissi (Brazil).

“There was never a question organizationally [about awarding Puerto Rico a WPSL franchise],” said Ferrara. “It was just a discussion about whether as a league we were ready to expand.”


Thursday February 21, 2008
Media Contact: Jim Wiggins Jr. 229-319-0017

Dragons schedule Puerto Rico Capitals

The Thomasville Dragons of the WPSL today announced an agreement with the Puerto Rico Capitals for a home and away series in the 2008 season. The Dragons season opener, to be televised live, will be played in Puerto Rico on May 24. The Capitals will travel to Thomasville on July 4 for the second leg of the series.

The Dragons are the only South Georgia team in the WPSL for the 2008 season. This announcement from the WPSL, and the teams' announcement of the tentative dates, was made at the Annual General Meeting of the WPSL in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Dragons and the Capitals are both in their inaugural seasons, and the season opener for the Dragons and Capitals will be the first WPSL game for both clubs. The game will also be the first WPSL game outside of the continental United States. The Dragons, together with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Tourism Department, plan to offer a travel package for fans wishing to attend the game.

This past summer, the Dragons fielded their first women's community squad. The application for admission into the WPSL was accepted in October and the FC Thomasville squad was born. "Our current team of women who live in the area or attend college locally make a very strong team. We anticipate adding more quality players from March and May tryouts" said Jim Wiggins, the General Manager of the Dragons. "I am passionate about soccer, and thrilled at the interest in our club. I have been contacted by players from around Georgia, Florida and Alabama about tryouts". Open tryouts will be held in March and again in May at Thomas University.

Thomasville City Manager Steve Sykes said "Congratulations to FC Thomasville on their immediate and future success in the WPSL. We look forward to seeing young women from our community excel in this league and represent Thomasville positively."

Wiggins chose the WPSL as the best opportunity for the Dragons to get quality competition. "There are several women with current or previous college soccer experience in Thomasville, and they will have the chance to play against some of the best in the world. The WPSL is a quality organization in all respects, and FC Thomasville is privileged to be a part of the league."

The Dragons are fortunate to have professional youth training available through the Thomas Area Soccer Association (TASA). The FC Thomasville Dragons list three TASA alumni in their initial roster. The Dragons will continue to look to John Regan and Mike Wallace at TASA and also Thomas University as its first resources for quality players. "TASA is very proud to have coaches such as John and Mike who as professional players have competed internationally and as coaches have placed several players into college programs. We are very fortunate to have coaches of this quality working with our youth soccer programs of TASA." said Harry Vann, the President of TASA.

The Puerto Rico Capitals are the first expansion team of the WPSL outside of the continental United States, and also mark the 50th team in the league for the 2008 season. The Capitals hope to have members of the Puerto Rico National Team in its initial game rosters. The WPSL is now a 50-team national women's soccer league with five conferences and is the highest level of women's soccer in the United States; while also holding the distinction of being one of the top leagues in the world.

The mission of the WPSL is to provide the highest level of women's soccer while simultaneously providing affordable, quality family entertainment and positive role models for our youth. For more information on the WPSL, visit the official website at http://www.wpsl.info or email the WPSL at media@wpsl.info.

The Futbol Club of Thomasville is the only WPSL team in Georgia. The other six South Division teams include the Tampa Bay Elite, Orlando Falcons, Central Florida Strikers, Miami Kickers FC, Palm Beach United, and the Puerto Rico Capitals.


Wednesday Feb 13, 2008
By GABRIELLE PAESE gpaese@sjstar.net

Islara Rodríguez form the University of Houston and Mónica Sanchez from the Colombus State University.

P.R. makes history with women's soccer league

When the Puerto Rico Winter Baseball League opted not to hold its 73rd season, Luis Murphy did not use the free time as an excuse to take a vacation. Instead, the young executive, who has held various administrative positions both with the Ponce Lions and MB Sports dedicated his energy to the world’s most popular sport, soccer. By doing so, he scored a goal for Puerto Rico this week as he succeeded in bringing the island its first ever women’s soccer franchise, the Puerto Rico Capitals.

On Thursday, the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) approved the franchise application for the team, which will begin play this summer in the league’s South conference. It marks the first time the 38-team league approves a franchise outside of the continental United States.The other South conference franchises are in Miami , Tampa Bay , Palm Beach , Orlando and Central Florida .

Murphy said he was shocked by the news because he expected his newly formed franchise to have exhibition status this year and was already shopping for tune-up games for the season.

"The Puerto Rico Capitals represent our first expansion outside the continental United States ," said WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli said via press release. "They have their own federation and we are eager to be working with them in developing the women's game."

Murphy said he will reveal the host city and the team’s coach in a press conference later this month. He said tryouts are tentatively slated for March 15 and 29. He added that those dates are specifically selected to allow the women playing collegiate soccer to attend during their spring break.

Accompanying the new team will be an U-17 developmental league and a girl’s soccer academy.
“I’ll be judging my success by how many girls we can help get college scholarships,” Murphy said Thursday.

The Puerto Rico women’s national team made history last year by beating Trinidad-Tobago, 1-0.


Thursday February 7, 2008
By Capitals Media San Juan, PR
 
Girls from the Puerto Rico National Team.

New WPSL Team Advances Women's Soccer in Puerto Rico

When the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) announced last week that it had expanded outside the continental US for the first time, teams quickly began to line up to get the new Caribbean franchise on their schedule. However, for the expansion Puerto Rico Capitals, their entry into one of the top women's soccer leagues in the US brings a special challenge.

The Capitals hope to attract top women's soccer players from all across the United States who have Puerto Rican heritage, and blend them with players who currently reside on the island commonwealth. "To promote the development of women's soccer in Puerto Rico, we have committed to fill our roster almost entirely with Puerto Rican nationals," said club President Luis Murphy. "Since so many players with Puerto Rican heritage live and play in the US, we want to spread the word across the country about this opportunity."

Indeed, players who may not have a chance to compete for the US women's national team might still earn the right to compete in the Olympics or the Women's World Cup, provided they have family ties to Puerto Rico. With the support of the Puerto Rico Football Federation (PRFF), Murphy has launched the Capitals to identify potential players for the national team and to establish a year-round training environment for promising talent at the youth level in Puerto Rico. The team will play its first competitive matches this summer, when the WPSL season kicks off in May.

This initiative was inspired, in part, by the remarkable progress made by the men's national team in Puerto Rico following the establishment of the Puerto Rico Islanders. The Islanders began play in the top flight of the United Soccer Leagues in 2004, and have played a key role in identifying and developing new talent to bolster the Puerto Rican national team. After not winning an international match in 14 years, and not playing any international matches since 2005, the men have been reborn in 2008 with two wins against Bermuda and a tie with Trinidad and Tobago to start the year.

"We hope that the Capitals can improve the level of the Puerto Rican women's national team in the same way that the Islanders have helped the men's program," said Joe Serralta, PRFF President. "This project is very important to our goal to win the Central American and Caribbean Games when they come to Puerto Rico in 2010."

In accordance with WPSL and NCAA rules, players can try out and play for the Capitals this summer without impacting their eligibility to play collegiate soccer in the fall. The franchise will begin forming its inaugural roster in the next few weeks, so interested players should contact the club by writing to prcapitals@yahoo.com or visiting the team's web site at http://www.wpsl.info/capitals to be considered.


Thursday January 31, 2008
By WPSL Media Sacramento, CA

Club President Luis Murphy (left) & League Commissioner Jerry Zanelli (right) believe the first-ever non-continental U.S. women's soccer side will be a success.

Puerto Rico Capitals F.C. join WPSL in 2008

The Executive Board of the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) is proud to announce the approval of the franchise application of the Puerto Rico Capitals. The P.R. Capitals F.C. will be a part of one of the top-rated leagues in the world of women's soccer starting in Summer 2008, competing in the South Conference.

The inclusion of the new Puerto Rico organization in the WPSL is a moment of history for the sport in this country, as they will be the first-ever women's soccer side who is not based on the North American continent to compete for a U.S. national title.

"The Puerto Rico Capitals represent our first expansion outside the continental United States," said WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli. "They have their own Federation and we are eager to be working with them in developing the women's game."

The main reason why a team based out of Puerto Rico has not been formed up to this juncture in the sport is simple - the finances of travel for both the home side & their opponents - and the league believes that this organization has firmly addressed that issue. "We are excited to expand the WPSL into Puerto Rico," said Associate Commissioner Joe Ferrara. "The Capitals organization presented a financial package to the teams in the South Conference, which made it easier for teams to travel off the mainland."

The Capitals front office is busy finalizing the details on the head coach, sponsorship packages and home pitch for next season. Club President Luis Murphy believes the timing is great for a WPSL franchise in Puerto Rico, as there are many talented players who need a top level environment to compete.

"The organization has planned to develop the Capitals U-17 Girl's Team, Jr. Capitals and the PR Capitals Girl's Soccer Summer Camp," said Murphy, whose organization participated in the WPSL Annual General Meeting in Las Vegas this past weekend.

The Capitals objectives are: to provide a playing opportunity for the women's soccer players from Puerto Rico to play in the highest level of competition; to enhance the female athlete as role models for the youth; and, to increase the quality soccer to all levels of the Puerto Rico community and to youth programs.

The WPSL is now a 45-team national women's soccer league with five conferences and is the highest level of women's soccer in the United States; while also holding the distinction of being one of the top leagues in the world. The mission is to provide the highest level of women's soccer while simultaneously providing affordable, quality family entertainment and positive role models for our youth. For more information on the WPSL, visit the official website at http://www.wpsl.info or email us at media@wpsl.info.





 


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