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Melo.

Carmelo Anthony's very own football team set to play first ever game

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Great NBA players are beginning to realise it's nice to be the owner. While Michael Jordan is currently guiding the Charlotte Hornets with steady progression, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has taken his business talents in a very different direction.

The 32-year-old announced in June last year that his club, Puerto Rico FC, would be joining the North American Soccer League and as Anthony takes to the court for Team USA in Rio at the Olympics, his very own franchise will also be in action.

They play their first ever competitive game against Indy Eleven - who won the Spring season title after a 10-game unbeaten run - in five days time on July 7 and Anthony will proudly watch on from the stands of the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, which has a capacity of 22,000.

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The nine-time NBA All-Star was born in Brooklyn, New York, but his father was from Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, he died as a result of cancer when Anthony was just two-years-old, so purchasing his own expansion in his father's birthplace is no doubt a tribute from the former Denver Nuggets man.

Technical director Neil Sillet believes the new side couldn't have wished for a tougher start but the Irishman also thinks it's a fitting occasion for the franchise.

"We didn't foresee - wrongly - that Indy would win the Spring Season... so we didn't expect to be hosting the Spring Season champions. But that makes it all the more spectacular or glamorous," Sillett told The Telegraph. "They've done extremely well and we have to step up a gear to match them.

"Looking at how teams have come into the NASL it's been really tough for them so we couldn't have had a tougher opening really."

The last team to join league was Miami FC last year, coached by legendary Italian centre-back Alessandro Nesta and co-owned by the even greater legend, Paolo Maldini. They would finish rock-bottom in their inaugural campaign and Anthony will be hoping they enjoy greater fortunes than their Florida-based rivals.

Sillett says Anthony's support has been invaluable - as evidence by the team's participation at the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City recently where they took on the Puerto Rican national team in an exhibition game.

"They almost felt they won something by being there," Sillett says, "and that's given them a real electric feeling."

Anthony is far from a sugar daddy, though. Miami have spent money in the offseason to try and change their fortunes, but Sillet insists Melo won't be conducting business that way.

"We haven't got their funds but we think we can do things right in certain areas that will give us an advantage. You can see why Miami spent money and where they needed support. They spent money that hasn't been spent in this league before but you've still got to get points on the board," he added.

Topics:
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Derrick Rose
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Carmelo Anthony
Derrick Rose

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