Hofstra men's soccer trio represent Puerto Rico at Central American and Caribbean Games

Three Hofstra men’s soccer players are getting quality preparation for the upcoming season and a unique opportunity at the same time by competing with the Puerto Rican under 21 National Team this month at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games.

The Hofstra trio of senior midfielder Steven Ehrichs, sophomore defender A.J. Laza and sophomore midfielder Stephen Barea are now in Puerto Rico gearing up for the start of the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, which kicks off on July 17 and concludes on August 1. The Pride players were chosen to the pool in February after a weeklong tryouts and evaluating process in January.  The Hofstra triumvirate arrived in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico on June 25 and has been practicing three times a day in addition to holding 8 a.m. workouts in preparation for the games.

“Practices are real intense,” said Barea, who was named to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team last year as a freshman. “The coaches try and keep us moving.”

Ehrichs enters the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games with previous international experience playing with the Puerto Rico National Team in World Cup qualifying with former Pride teammate Richard Martinez. In an upcoming tuneup the Central American and Caribbean Games, Ehrichs, Laza and Barea will be on opposite sides of the field with the former Hofstra defenseman when their squad plays an exhibition game against Martinez’s current team the Puerto Rico Islanders of the United States Soccer Federation Division 2 Professional League.

Hofstra men’s soccer head coach Richard Nuttall is hopeful that the experience Ehrichs, Laza and Barea will have competing against some of the top young Central American soccer players will pay dividends for the Pride’s 2010 season that kicks off on Sept. 1 against Stony Brook. “It gives them more exposure in terms of experience,” said Nuttall. “It is a good experience overall for them.”