Puerto Rico's Bayamon FC (center) kicks off its Caribbean Football Union Club Championship campaign on March 21, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Bayamon FC)
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s Bayamon FC intends to compete as a cohesive unit when it hosts Group 1 of the 2014 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, starting on Friday at the Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel.
Domestically, the club has successfully merged the talents of players from many different countries, including Spain, Haiti, and Colombia. The goal is to do the same on the international stage.
“If we are able to incorporate those styles,” Bayamon midfielder Andres Perez told CONCACAF.com, “we will be fun to watch.”
Over the last six weeks, Bayamon has been busy preparing for the CFU challenge with intensive strength training sessions in a bid to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
As the opener against Bodden Town (Cayman Islands) approaches, gym work has made way for more time on the pitch, a welcome change for Perez.
“It’s been a tough six weeks of preseason, but very well worth with it,” Perez said. “Every player on this team is hungry for these three games.”
Born in Florida, Perez played four years for Barry University, before moving to Puerto Rico -- the home of his parents -- to fulfill his professional football aspirations.
After stints with Sevilla Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Islanders, Perez transferred to Bayamon in 2013.
His impact was immediate as he became a key player in the Vaqueros’ run to the Puerto Rico Soccer League regular season title last year, which earned them a spot in the CFU event.
Now he wants to help Bayamon scale the same heights as the Islanders, who qualified for five straight editions of the CCL, advancing as far as the semifinals in 2008-09.
“Bayamon wants to show the region we have a team capable of competing in the CFU and CONCACAF,” Perez finished.
After Bodden Town, Bayamon concludes opening round play by facing Curacao’s Centro Dominguito (March 23) and Unite Saint Rosienne of Guadeloupe (March 25).