Posted on April 27, 2012
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Former Monmouth University soccer player Anthony Vazquez has signed a professional contract to play for the Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League.
The Belford, N.J. already has played in several games this season, including his April 7 debut against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and an appearance in front of 13,151 fans against the San Antonio Scorpions.
“Overall, my experience with the Islanders has been great,” Vazquez said. “The training has been very competitive and I am quickly adjusting to the level of play. In 2008, I was contacted by Puerto Rico’s men’s national team general manager, Rene Echevarria, to participate in a game against the Dominican Republic for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. The coach of the national team at the time was Adrian Whitbread, who is presently the coach for the Islanders. Ever since 2008, he has expressed an interest in the way I played.”
Vazquez was a highly decorated defender in his three years with Monmouth. He was twice named to the All-North Atlantic Regional Team as well as two All-Northeast Conference honors.
“We are very happy for Anthony,” Monmouth coach Robert McCourt said. “He is living the dream of playing professional soccer. Being that his family is originally from Puerto Rico makes this opportunity even better. We wish him all the luck and success with the Islanders.”
Vazquez helped the Hawks to three consecutive NEC regular season titles as well as three successive NEC tournament crowns. Twice Vazquez helped Monmouth advance to the second round of the NCAA Division I men’s tournament.
He helped the Hawks’ defense limit opponents to a skimpy 0.64 goals-against average while recording 13 clean sheets to earn his second straight regional All-America honor in 2011. He moved from the All-NEC second team last season to the first team this year. He also scored a goal and added two assists in his senior season. Vazquez was one of Hawks named to the pre-season Hermann Trophy Watch List. His penalty kick decided the shootout victory over Stony Brook in the NCAA first round at home.
“Puerto Rico is a beautiful island with great weather all year round,” Vazquez said. “I am currently living in an apartment overlooking the San Juan beach. It is something that most players would love to experience and something that I am extremely grateful for. The club has great fan support, making it a great atmosphere to play in front of each game.”
Categories: Caribbean, Puerto Rico
Tags: Anthony Vasquez, North American Soccer League, Northeast Conference, Puerto Rico Islanders, Rob McCourt