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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Former QPR Forward Colin Clarke Takes Over at Puerto Rico Islanders

Islanders name Colin Clarke Head Coach
05/24/07 - USL First Division (USLFD)

[Puerto Rico Islanders play in the United Soccer Leagues (USL)First Division] - not the same as Major League Soccer (MLS)

BAYAMON, PR -- The Board of Directors of the PR Islanders announce the appointment and hiring of former Major League Soccer FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke to assume the direction of the team for the USL First Division 2007 season.
Colin Clarke, 44, brings his highly regarded experience, both as a successful international player and coach for both MLS and USL First Division (formerly A-League). Clarke holds an FA (British) coaching badge and a USSF Class "A" coaching license.

His professional coaching career in USL began in 1998 when he guided the USL First Division Richmond Kickers to a 38-18 regular season record and playoff appearances in both 1998 and 1999 USL Seasons. Thereafter he was the head coach for the San Diego Flash of USL-1, guiding the team to a 16-9-3 record and a second place finish in the Pacific Division. In 2001 he was hired as the Assistant Coach for MLS FC Dallas, for three years until 2003 and was the Interim Head Coach for the final six matches of the 2003 season.

In the summer of 2005, Clarke and his coaching staff were selected to lead the MLS All-Star team in the summer classic against Fulham FC by virtue of having a League-best 34 points through July 4. With a league-high six FC Dallas players on the MLS roster, Clarke's side defeated Fulham 4-1.

Clarke led FC Dallas to the MLS Cup playoffs in 2004 and 2005 as regular seasons champs. Under Clarke's direction FC Dallas achieved many milestones during the 2006 regular season in posting a record of 16-12-4 (52 points): The 16 wins led MLS and equaled the most wins in regulation in team history. He was appointed head coach at USL First Division's Virginia Beach Mariners in January 2007 until USL announced the franchise's dissolution.

Clarke's outstanding playing career includes 38 appearances with the Northern Ireland National Team, where he scored 13 goals, including a goal vs. Spain in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He played in the English Leagues from 1981-93 with six different teams, including Portsmouth, Southampton and Queens Park Rangers. During his 12-year career, he played in 361 English League matches and tallied 146 goals.

The Islanders' former head coach Toribio Rojas will continue to be an important part of Islanders' organization in the rapidly expanding youth development programs. Mr. Rojas has made a historic contribution to Puerto Rican soccer during the past ten years."The Islanders and Puerto Rico have a debt to Mr. Rojas for his dedication and support to this effort," said Andres Guillemard, president of PRI.

Clarke will meet the players during practice scheduled for Wednesday morning at "La Islandera" and will join the team on Thursday in Minnesota for the rematch to be played on Saturday May 26th, at National Sports Center.

"I am very excited to joining the Islanders franchise and to make this team reach a whole new level," said new PR Islanders Head Coach Colin Clarke.

About the United Soccer League (USL)

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