New York Knicks superstar forward Carmelo Anthony is now the proud sole owner of Puerto Rico FC, a new squad in the North American Soccer League that is set to kick things off in 2016.
Melo, 31, has a Puerto Rican mother and visited the country in early May to gauge the potential investment.
Anthony says that his passion for The Beautiful Game “has always been there.”
How did your passion for soccer develop to the point where you wanted to own a team? […] ANTHONY: “My passion for soccer has always been there. I just always kept it to myself and among my circle. Going to games, sneaking into games and just watching and being around the sport over the years. The more time I spent I started spending in Puerto Rico over the past six, seven years I realized that there was kind of a void down there on my island. The island didn’t really have anything that they could kind of call their own, that they could represent not just on the island but from a global standpoint.”
You met and trained a bit with Real Madrid last year. What was that like? […] ANTHONY: “Yeah, that was in L.A., and it was fun. One of my best friends, Dontaye Draper, played for Real Madrid but on their basketball team. He was telling me that Real Madrid was coming over to L.A. and if I wanted to host them and go to practice. I was already working out at UCLA when they came out there, so it was perfect timing that I was able to host them at UCLA, get on the field with them and kick around some balls and just kind of have some fun and interact with them.”
Both you and your wife are of Puerto Rican descent, and you’ve done some charity work down there building basketball courts. What are some other reasons why you decided to purchase this team and put it in Puerto Rico? […] ANTHONY: “I realized three, maybe four years ago that there was a Puerto Rico soccer team there, the Islanders. They were a very successful team, very competitive team in the NASL. For whatever reason over the last couple of years — a lack of money, lack of ownership — a lot of the funds were coming from the government and then that got cut down. When the politics come into play I kind of step a way from it. It was a perfect chance for me to not only revive that energy and that club, but to start something fresh. I wanted to be that one team that represents Puerto Rico.”