History of Puerto Rico Islanders FC - Early Years (2003-2005)

Early Years (2003-2005)

Eight year after Serralta's first attempt at professional football, he gave it another go and together with a group of Puerto Rican businessmen officially created the current incarnation of the Puerto Rico Islanders. The team played their first A-League season, now the USL First Division, in 2004. The original squad was composed of a large number of local Puerto Rican players and a contingency of foreign players composed of Americans, Brazilians, Salvadoran and Argentines completed this first squad, the team was coached by Brazilian Vitor Hugo Barros who was replaced several games into the season by Argentine Hugo Hernán Maradona, brother of the legendary Diego Armando Maradona. The team played its first league game on April 17, 2004 against the Toronto Lynx at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, the Islanders lost 1-0 in front of a reported 6,000 fans. The Islanders had their first victory on January 15, 2004 against the Charleston Battery with a score of 1-0 at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium. Led by players like Mauricio Salles, Raúl Díaz Arce and Luis Fernando Zuleta Mechura the Islanders finished the 2004 season in 14th place, with a record of 5 wins, 17 losses and 6 ties.

In 2005, the Islanders still under Hugo Hernán Maradona brought in a new group of players that would become staples in the club for the next couple of seasons (Petter Villegas, Marco Vélez, Dan Kennedy, Caleb Norkus, Alejandro González Pareja and Noah Delgado), and retained several key players like Mauricio Salles. At the end of the season, the Islanders had an improved season record with 10 wins, 10 losses and 8 ties, this time barely missing the playoff.

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