The Puerto Rican Football Federation (FPF) has opened a new youth and technical development centre on the island with the help of USD 584,000 in FIFA Forward funding.
The Centro de Formación y Desarrollo del Técnico del Oeste located in Añasco municipality in the west of Puerto Rico provides elite teams across all categories with optimal facilities in which to prepare for international competitions where top-level football infrastructure had previously been scarce.
The centre was inaugurated by a ribbon-cutting ceremony in which national and regional representatives as well as members of local clubs participated, and a plaque commemorating the event and bearing the congratulations of FIFA President Gianni Infantino was also unveiled.
The centre now boasts a synthetic pitch in line with FIFA standards, which had previously been revamped at a cost of USD 535 000, and dressing rooms for players and referees. Work has also been undertaken to carry out repairs and renovations to the existing sanitation and electrical systems as well as the administration buildings.
“We are very happy. It’s a very successful day for Puerto Rican football, because we are celebrating a victory on the pitch, but also the means to make those triumphs happen, which is infrastructure,” said FPF President Ivan Rivera, referring to the country’s U-14 girls’ team winning the CFU 14 Girls Challenge Series on the same day as the centre’s opening.
“To have this building with dressing rooms, which complements the pitch, enables us to be able to work in the best manner possible in the western region, and for the federal youth leagues and higher levels.”
The lighting on the indoor futsal court has been upgraded and equipment storage space increased with the FPF hoping to give footballers of all ages and abilities in Añasco as well as the 11 adjacent municipalities a stage on which they can enjoy the game and hone their talents.
It will also serve as a centre for coach and referee education as the FPF continues to strive to raise standards across the game in Puerto Rico, while its proximity to the Estadio Centroamericano de Mayagüez, the national teams’ HQ less than 30 minutes’ drive away, eases logistical issues ahead of international matches.
“First of all, I want to congratulate them on the result in the recent CFU tournament. For us, these facilities are simply a means, it is what happens on the pitch that deserves praise. I believe we have seen, in the results on the pitch, a clear example of the investment and work that the Puerto Rican Football Federation has put in in recent years,” said the Regional Office Lead, Jose Rodríguez, who noted the project had overcome numerous adverse weather events.
“We have suffered the impact of [Hurricanes] Irma, María and Fiona, which were tough both in personal and infrastructure terms, and we have to give credit to this administration for the work they have done.”