STATEN ISLAND, New York.- For Sidney Rivera and his Puerto Rico teammates, this month’s big 3-2 win over Anguilla is only the beginning of following the dream to reach new heights in Concacaf.
In an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com, the Staten Island, New York native talked about the plans of Puerto Rico’s future, but noted the first step is about increasing the sport’s profile on a baseball loving island.
“Right now, our goal is to develop soccer in Puerto Rico. We want to build the game on the island so that in future years we can compete for a Gold Cup,” said Rivera.
But while the team may still be in the building phase, Puerto Rico are not just here to take part. “Our goal is to just win these games. Every time we step on the field in a competitive match, the goal is to win,” he continued.
“[The win against Anguilla] was a big time win for us, it was our first win in a few years and it feels great to get that monkey off our backs, but now we’re focused on the next two games.”
After a long journey spanning time in the USL, NASL, Vietnamese top division, and the NPSL, the 25-year-old captain looked back at all the work it took to get this far, but his focus is fixated on the future.
“I’m super happy and super proud to be representing Puerto Rico, but everything from there is constant work. Just getting here doesn’t do much. I need to work hard to accomplish my goals and win games,” Rivera added.
That never-rest-on-your-laurels attitude proved valuable against Anguilla, who mounted a strong comeback effort, but were denied by a Puerto Rico team that never switched off.
Speaking on his leadership role, Rivera said, “I want to continue to learn from the new guys and the young guys, and I hope my experience will rub off on them as well. I want to learn from them and I hope they can learn from me.”
Puerto Rico’s next two matches in November are away to Guatemala and then the home rematch with Anguilla to close out the Nations League group stage.