MOCA, Dominican Republic - When one speaks about the future of football in the Dominican Republic, one must first study its recent past and present.
Upon closer inspection, there is one name that stands out: Jonathan Fana.
The 31-year-old forward has been a stalwart for the Dominican Republic National Team ever since 2006 and is its all-time leading scorer with 24 goals.
Fana has also starred across the CONCACAF region in club competitions, with seven career Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League goals and an astounding 14 all-time goals in the Caribbean Club Championship.
Now a member of Atletico Pantoja in the Liga Dominicana de Futbol, Fana appreciates how the young league is helping develop a new generation of Dominican footballers.
"Despite the little time of the professional league, just four years, football has been evolving," said Fana in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
"And because of that, the national team has grown because of the constant number of matches and training during those years," added Fana.
The Dominican Republic is coming off a successful FIFA international break in March with a pair of victories in friendlies over Turks and Caicos Islands (4-0) and Saint Kitts and Nevis (2-1).
With results like those, optimism continues to grow about the future of the National Team ahead of this fall's CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying.
"It's a very interesting national team that promises big things, they are setting goals and a very favorable work plan to win. Certainly, getting a good set of matches is good for growth. Those kind of matches makes you grow as a footballer and as a team," said Fana.
On the docket for the Dominican Republic in the CNL will be Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Cuba and Bermuda, four opponents that will bring the best out of Fana and his teammates.
"They are opponents who have their own things like the Dominican team, and we as the Dominican National Team will be facing footballers who are respected in each of their National Teams," concluded Fana.