May 9, 2014, TAMPA, Fla. (ISN) – The PDL, the most established and respected national U23 men’s league, is pleased to announce the launch of a fall season – PDL+ – commencing in 2015.
Designed to supplement the primary PDL summer season, PDL+ will provide existing league members an expanded competition window into late autumn of each year.
“The PDL and its member clubs have been the undisputed leaders in the development of American soccer at the pre-professional level over the past two decades by providing a bridge from the youth, college and amateur levels to professional leagues such as USL PRO and Major League Soccer,” USL President Tim Holt said. “In order to continue to serve the needs of aspiring professional players and add value for our PDL clubs amidst the constantly evolving soccer landscape, it is critical to offer new and exciting programs like PDL+ that are aligned with the future direction of the sport and domestic player development.”
The launch of PDL+ coincides with growing demand in the marketplace for elite programming for professional prospects beyond the summer months and serves to further align with the rapidly expanding USL PRO and its affiliate partner MLS. While the traditional PDL season consists primarily of those players competing at the intercollegiate level, the PDL+ platform is focused on furthering the development and exposure of recent college soccer graduates and elite academy players.
Additional details regarding the PDL+ format and structure will be announced in the coming months.
In recent years, the PDL has played a prominent role in the development of players for professional soccer. Seven members of the 2013 USL PRO All-League First Team were PDL alumni including 2013 USL PRO Most Valuable Player Jose Angulo from Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who scored 15 goals in three PDL seasons prior to turning professional. Others included Pittsburgh’s Matt Dallman, who set a USL PRO record with 12 assists in 2013, and the Richmond Kickers’ Andrew Dykstra, who claimed 2013 Goalkeeper of the Year honors.
The 2014 MLS SuperDraft saw six former PDL players selected in the top 10, and 25 former PDL and Super-20 League alumni selected overall, continuing the remarkable success of the PDL in helping the development of potential future professionals. In the past five seasons, 162 of the 232 players selected in the SuperDraft have played in the PDL, a remarkable 70 percent of selections. Further, the past three MLS Rookie of the Year honorees have been PDL alumni, with the Austin Aztex’s Dillon Powers claiming the award in 2013 for the Colorado Rapids to follow Reading United’s C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City) in 2011 and the Chicago Fire U-23’s Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) in 2012.