Puerto Rico Football Club Announces Head Coach And Technical Director

Adrian Whitbread returns to Puerto Rico as a head coach, while Neil Sillett joins as the club's technical director
Puerto Rico FC Staff | Aug 24, 2015

Puerto Rico Football Club owner Carmelo Anthony, who stars for the NBA’s New York Knicks, announced Monday the appointment of Adrian Whitbread as the club’s head coach and Neil Sillett as the team’s technical director. Puerto Rico FC is scheduled to begin its first season in the league, playing its home matches at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, during the 2016 Fall Season.

“We are extremely happy to introduce Adrian as our new head coach,” Anthony said. “He is a high-energy person and a high-level thinker who will work well and demand the most from our group. Adrian has had success at many levels and we are looking forward to him leading our team next season.”

Whitbread has worked with English clubs Barnet FC, Brentford FC, Milton Keynes Dons FC, and Leicester City. He was with the Puerto Rico Islanders from 2008 to 2012 when the team won the USL title in 2008 and reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League in 2008-2009, losing to Cruz Azul of Mexico in a penalty-kick shootout.  In 2010, the club won two titles, USSF-D2 Championship and the Caribbean Regional Club competition (and repeated in 2011). In 2014, Whitbread was named the coach of Bahrain’s U-23 (Olympic) team.

“I am so honored that Carmelo, and his PRFC franchise, is giving me the opportunity to become his new head coach and am very excited to get started in putting together a team that will be successful and one that the Puerto Rican supporters can be proud of,” Whitbread said. “I know firsthand how passionate the fans can be and will do everything I can for Carmelo and the fans to have a team that they can be proud of. We can all play a part on and off the field to build something very special and believe it’s a unique situation to be involved in. I know a lot of work has gone on already, but when I knew of this opportunity, myself and Neil have been working on this 24/7 as we both have the same passion and drive.”

Speaking about Sillett, Anthony said: “Neil brings a wealth of experience to the club, from grassroots coaching and player development to working with high-performance athletes in the professional ranks.”

Sillett has worked at the highest level of professional sports for more than 20 years, as a former player, coach, and physiotherapist. He is a third-generation professional player from a family with deep roots in the game in Britain. Over the past two decades he has worked for Portsmouth FC, Coventry City FC, and Derby County FC with the likes of Terry Venables, Jim Smith, Steve McClaren, and his father, John Sillett. He has a proven track record in recognizing quality players and throughout his career has helped develop many players into stars in England’s Premier League.

“Puerto Rico Football Club is the most exciting project I have been involved with in my entire career,” Sillett said. “Having been on a technical team that has won an FA Cup and been involved in playoffs in the UK that underlines exactly how I feel about it. Having discussed U.S. soccer with people like Craig Burley, my father, Colin Clarke, Paulo Wanchope, and in particular Sir Alex Ferguson, who convinced me it was the right move, I am sure it is where the major growth lies in soccer. Carmelo and his team have shown great commitment and enterprise in getting PRFC to this position."

He added: "I am massively proud to be given the chance to help take the club to their desired place in the North American soccer ladder. Melo throughout his career has displayed enormous dedication, strength, toughness, and skill and when guiding our recruitment, our players will also have to show the same qualities. I have learned from the best in the business and sincerely believe all of us together, the owner, the coaches, the players and the fans here in Puerto Rico can deliver a high quality club into the NASL next year.”

Sillett, Whitbread, and Anthony now embark on the process of identifying and signing players who will represent the club and Puerto Rico in the NASL in 2016.

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