Carmelo Anthony hasn’t exactly followed in the footsteps of Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson on the court by accumulating championships, but he is trying to emulate them off the court in the world of business.
Anthony announced yesterday that he has bought a soccer team in the NASL (to be located in Puerto Rico) and will begin play in the Fall of 2016. The team will be called Puerto Rico FC and will play in the 12,500 seat Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium (which is just outside of San Juan) and serves as the home stadium of the Puerto Rican national team.
Puerto Rico FC will not be the first professional soccer team the island nation has had, as the Puerto Rico Islanders played there from 2003 until folding in 2012. The highpoint of their time was marked with an improbable run to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal in 2009.
This team is more than just a business enterprise for Anthony as he and his wife are both of Puerto Rican descent and have started various charitable initiatives in the country over the past few years.
Anthony hopes the team can tap into a Puerto Rican ethos throughout the United States and the world:
“For me, it’s more about bringing that global awareness back to Puerto Rico. Everyone in the world wants to visit Puerto Rico. And there’s a lot of Puerto Ricans scattered throughout the world, and in America alone. I want to connect to those pockets of Puerto Ricans in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Orlando. That’s something I want to tap into.”
The NASL is the second tier soccer league consisting of American soccer franchises. The league has struggled financially recently but it has attracted new investors including former soccer players Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, and Riccardo Silva.