Puerto Rican Junior Team to Compete Against U.S. All-Stars at the 2009 Youth and Scholastic Nationals

March 06, 2009, 5:17 p.m. (ET)
U.S. junior athletes will have the opportunity to gain international experience at the 2009 USA Judo Youth and Scholastic National Championships when they compete against a junior team from Puerto Rico during a goodwill match on March 28 in York, Pa.

The team of 20 Puerto Rican players range in age from 13-19-years-old and will compete against an All-Star Team of similar age U.S. players. 

"We at USA Judo are always looking to provide our athletes with international opportunities, and when the leadership of the Puerto Rican Judo Federation approached us with this proposal we jumped on it," said USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.)  "We are already in discussions with the Puerto Rico Judo Federation to have a similar event in Puerto Rico next year. We hope that when other countries in the region see the success of this sort of dual meet competition they will want to come out to the USA and have a similar experience."

The dual meet will be open to the public and spectators are encouraged to come out to cheer on both teams at the York Expo Center's Toyota Arena, 334 Carlisle Ave.

The matches will be held following the conclusion of the Youth and Scholastic National Championships and Cadet World Trials at a time to be determined in the afternoon.  Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 9-12 and free for children 8-years-old and under.  Tickets are available at the door and include admission to all of the day's matches, beginning at 9 a.m.

"Puerto Rico has a tremendous pool of young judo athletes and they always have a great following of friends and family members. The Scholastics being on the East Coast will provide the Puerto Ricans living in that region an opportunity to come out and support their athletes while giving the USA athletes an opportunity to compete in an international setting in front of their own home crowd," Rodriguez said.  "I can foresee in the near future Junior National Teams coming over for three- or four-city tours. I know that our athletes will put on a great show against the Puerto Rican team while the home crowd at York will both cheer our athletes on and be gracious hosts to this great Caribbean nation."

U.S. athletes interested in competing in this event are asked to contact Coach Ruben Martin (Burleson, Texas) at rubenmartinjudo@att.net.  Athletes will be selected for the U.S. Team based on their positions on the USA Judo Junior Elite National Rosters, dated March 2, 2008.

Team Puerto Rico athletes are as follows:

Juvenile B (Cadet) Born 1993-1994
Ana Villegas (57kg)
Jaredxy Cruz (+70kg)
Zully Contreras (+70kg)

Juvenile A Born 1995-1996
Joalisse Ortiz Vega (48kg)
Daiane Fuentes (48kg)
Jessie Sanchez Henriquez (48kg)
Jeyra Liz Rivera (48kg)
Kiara Betancourt (70kg)

IJF-Junior Born 1990 or Later
Javier Lleras (81kg)

Juvenile B (Cadet) Born 1993-1994
Michael Rivera (50kg)
Heriberto Cruz (50kg)
Kidany Encarnacion (60kg)
Raymond Alicano (66kg)
Edwin Saavedra (73kg)
Juan Rodriguez (81kg)
Robert Soto (90kg)

Juvenile A Born 1995-1996
Jason Diana (40kg)
Javiezer Colon (44kg)
Brian Diaz (48kg)
Luis Trujillo (53kg)