Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic dissapoints!
Disappointment in the big Caribbean Nations
The big disappointment for me so far in the Caribbean Cup is the elimination of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. These big populous nations of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have 3.97 Million people and 10.090 Million respectively. I am very displeased since neither one of these countries will participant in the Gold Cup. If there is any chance that the Gold Cup will expand to 16 nations the big populous nations like these 2 have to produce quality teams.
The only way CONCACAF officials will expand is if countries have fan support. Warner will not expand just for the sake of expansion. It would lessen the tournament if Barbados - Antigua & Barbuda with Canada played Grenada as a double header and only 3,000 fans showed at a 60,000 stadium. Presently Mexico carries the Gold Cup with attendance. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the USA are a distant second in fan support. Then there is a huge drop off. Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica are good teams but only a fraction of the fan support of the other nations.
Since these big Caribbean Populous nations have been knocked out Warner is glad he did not expand the Gold Cup to 16 teams this year. Warner and Gold Cup officials want a packed house to support them team. Officials want to Gold Cup to match the South American Cup. In order to do that these big populous nations of Dominican Republic 10 million, Haiti – 10 Million, Puerto Rico 3.9 million have to produce quality teams. Not only do they have to have quality team they also have to be one of the best 8 in the Caribbean. I believe if expansion comes the Caribbean has to get these big nations to make it to the final 8 year in and year out.
Of the final 8 Caribbean nations in the Caribbean Cup, only 2 nations (Jamaica, Cuba) have more than 1 Million of population. All the other participants have less than a million population. Some of these smaller island nations may have good teams but no one will watch them. They do not have a support club that travels with the team, they do not have fans dressing up in the nations colors and waving the nations flag. All of this pomp and pageantry adds to the Gold Cup just as it adds to the World Cup. There are just not enough fans in the states to support their nation during the Gold Cup.
I had high hopes for The Dominican Republic. Haiti usually puts out a quality team every tournament. The Dominican Republic is on the same small island in the Caribbean. Their populations are roughly the same. Why can’t the Dominican Republic field a quality team like Haiti? The Dominican Republic did not even advance to Stage 2. They were beat at home by tiny Dominica. It is hard for me to imagine how a nation (Dominican Republic) that has a population of slightly over 10 Million can lose to a nation (Dominica) that only has 72,600 people. That is more than 100 times the amount of players to draw from. The Dominican Republic should be a main player in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic should be competing in the Final 8 every tournament based on population. The Dominican Republic has as many immigrants in the USA as many of the Central American countries. I believe they would be a tremendous asset to the Gold Cup if they could field a competitive team.
I thought that this would be the year the Dominican Republic steps into the fray of the Caribbean. The problem with this country is that not many people care for soccer. They do not care because their national team stinks. Everyone wants a winner and to have a team to be proud of. You can not be proud of your team when they lose at home to Dominica. They want a star on their team they can cheer for that is as good as or better than their opponents. The Dominican Republic has neither. After waiting 4 years for this country to succeed I was very disappointed.
I do not want to leave on a sour note about this country. Soccer is evolving very slowly. The top league is called premier division. This top tier league only has 8 teams for the 2010 season. Barcelona has bought a team Club Barcelona Atlético that plays in this Premier league. Hopefully this team can set the bar and elevate the entire league. The Dominican also has a good federation with a good web site so us fans can monitor the progress this nation makes. The best part of the league is over 90% of the players are Dominican. I guess I will have to wait another 2 years before I can judge the nation again..ugggg.
Puerto Rico (3.97 Million)
Puerto Rico has the 4th largest population of all the Caribbean. It also has one of the best economies. Puerto Rico is also one of the biggest islands in the Caribbean. Since 20087 when Colin Clake (N Ireland) took over the national team, they shot up the rankings. This fooled me since they had not had a coach since 2004. I thought Puerto Rico would be a force in the Caribbean and the Gold Cup on the level of Guadeloupe. I was wrong. Puerto Rico failed for a completely different reason. Clake also coaches the Puerto Rico Islanders. The Islanders have many of the top players on the national team. The Islanders just started the playoff just when the second round (Stage 2) of the Caribbean Cup started. The top players traveled with Clarke and the national team did not win in Stage 2. After dominating it’s opponents at home the Puerto Rico national team could not advance with a substitute coach and their B team against Grenada at home, a well organized Guadeloupe team and St Kitts in the last game. The Islanders went on to win the Champion of the USSF D-2 in the 2010. They beat the Rochester Rhino’s (#1 seed), the Vancouver Whitecaps (who will be a MLS team in 2011) and the Carolina Railhowks for the Championship.
I love national teams however you can make a case for promoting the sport by winning a Championship. Did Clarke do the right thing…time will tell. However us who like the national teams, we will have to wait another 2 teams for this nation and see how they improve. Uggggg I am not getting younger and I hate waiting.