New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony announced on June 11 that he has purchased Puerto Rico FC, a football team which will be based in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and will begin play in 2016.
Carmelo Anthony has purchased football team Puerto Rico FC.
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Anthony, the New York Knicks' star forward, announced on June 11 his team will compete in the North American Soccer League (NASL) beginning in 2016, per ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle:
"My passion for soccer has always been there.
"I just 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 started spending in Puerto Rico over the past six, seven years I realized that there was kind of a void down there on my isiand.
"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."
Puerto Rico FC will be the NASL's 13th team after the addition of Miami FC on May 20. It will play its home games at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium (capacity 12,500), which is around 10 miles from San Juan, per Carlisle.
Puerto Rico FC succeeds the Puerto Rico Islanders, who played in different leagues from 2003 to 2012. The latter has been on hiatus from the NASL since 2012, per ESPN FC.
Anthony told the media on Thursday now was the perfect time to revive football in Puerto Rico. He and his wife are of Puerto Rican descent and have been active in the local community for years, setting up basketball courts all over the island, per Carlisle:
"It was a perfect chance for me to not only revive that energy and that club, but to start something fresh. I want to be that one team that represents Puerto Rico.
"For me, it's 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."
Anthony also made it clear his new endeavor will not detract him from his commitment to the Knicks, per Carlisle:
"Basketball is my No. 1 thing. I'm very hands-on but it's more about taking time now during the offseason. I spend a lot of time in Puerto Rico training. I'll do like a mini-training camp down there.
"Right now it's about putting the right people in place so that when I'm back to my regular job, basketball is my main focus. I'll have a solid group of people running (Puerto Rico FC) on a day-to-day basis."
Anthony's interest in soccer was exemplified when he went to Cuba to be Pele's guest for the New York Cosmos match against the Cuban national team earlier this month. He also hung out with Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid when the team trained in Los Angeles last year, per ESPN FC.
With his purchase of Puerto Rico FC, Anthony joins the ranks of soccer team owners Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini and Riccardo Silva. Carlisle says Ronaldo owns a minority stake with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers while Maldini and Silva are part owners of Miami FC.
In another development, Anthony teamed up with Nickelodeon on June 9 for a line of products inspired by the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" known as "Turtles By Melo," per HollywoodReporter.com's Georg Szalai.
Among the products which are expected to carry the brand name are lifestyle products, home furniishings, publishing and video games. They are going to make their debut in the spring of 2016. This will be just after "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2," where Anthony has a cameo appearance, will be released in theaters, per Szalai.
Anthony told HollywoodReporter.com on Tuesday about his excitement for his new project:
"I am so excited about the opportunity to work with the Nickelodeon team on this new Turtles venture.
"The Turtles were a big part of my childhood. I have been connecting with the brand for a long time.
"It (the partnership) just happened naturally. We didn't force it...It's just the first step. There's more to come.
"For me, it's about stepping outside the box. It is something I never could have imagined."
The 31-year-old Anthony has averaged 25.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 830 career regular-season games for the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks, per ESPN stats.
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