The Long Island Rough Riders and Major League Soccer’s New York City FC announced a new partnership on Thursday, as NYCFC became the latest professional side to partner with a PDL club for its development model.
Here are three things to know about the new agreement.
1. BUILDING BLOCK: The PDL has been a key level of player development in the United States and Canada for many years, with MLS and USL clubs taking advantage of the ability to scout college players through partnerships, or operating their own PDL teams. NYCFC will hope to benefit from this relationship in the same way as MLS rival the Philadelphia Union has with its relationship with Reading United AC for the past seven years. The Union’s roster currently contains five former Reading players, led by forward C.J. Sapong and standout rookie Keegan Rosenberry.
2. RAISING THE ROUGH RIDERS: Long Island has long had a tradition of success both on the field, and in helping players move on to Major League Soccer. Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia, Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Tim Parker and the New York Red Bulls’ Mike Grella all played for the Rough Riders prior to turning professional, and the club will now become an even more attractive option for players as they look to hone their games before continuing their college careers.
3. CONTINUING THE TREND: The partnership between the Rough Riders and NYCFC will be the 15th between a PDL club and a team in either Major League Soccer or the USL, making up almost one quarter of the teams in the league this season. Those connections have paid off not only through players being selected in the MLS SuperDraft – where 70 percent of players selected since 2007 have been PDL alumni – but also allowing for the potential for Homegrown Player signings, such as current U.S. MNT standouts Gyasi Zardes, DeAndre Yedlin and Jordan Morris.
2016 PDL Professional Partnerships
Baltimore Bohemians – D.C. United
Burlingame Dragons FC – San Jose Earthquakes
Long Island Rough Riders – New York City FC
Michigan Bucks – Columbus Crew SC
Reading United AC – Philadelphia Union
Sounders FC U23 – Seattle Sounders FC
Ventura County Fusion – Sacramento Republic FC
2016 PDL Professionally Owned and Operated
New York Red Bulls U23
OKC Energy FC U23
Orange County Blues U23
Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23
Portland Timbers U-23s
Original article here.