441-game season to open Saturday, May 2
TAMPA, Fla. – The PDL, the preeminent developmental league for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, will kick off its 26th season on Saturday, May 2 as 64 teams will compete for the opportunity to be crowned champion. With 58 of the league’s alumni selected in the recent MLS SuperDraft, the top players from throughout the U.S. and Canada will once again flock to the PDL in the coming months in the hopes of improving their professional aspirations.
Ten PDL clubs will once again be operated by or affiliated with MLS and USL PRO organizations, including longtime PDL powers the Chicago Fire U-23, the Portland Timbers U-23s, and Seattle Sounders FC U23.
“We expect 2015 to be the most exciting season in PDL history,” PDL Senior Director Todd Eason said. “There have been several important changes, including creating the largest division in the league with the 10-team Mid-Atlantic, which is packed with some of the most successful clubs in the Eastern Conference. We have also added two more teams in Florida that will continue to strengthen the emerging Southeast Division, and adding Calgary Foothills FC to the Northwest will only complement what is already one of the strongest divisions in the entire league.
“We have seen many upgrades this year, but nothing is more impressive than continuing to see elite clubs – such as the Lehigh Valley United Sonic – make the step up to the PDL. That is why it continues to be the most competitive amateur league in North America.”
PDL clubs will play 12- or 14-game schedules in 2015, half home and half away. New teams joining for the 2015 season include Burlingame Dragons FC, Calgary Foothills FC, the Charlotte Eagles, the Dayton Dutch Lions, the FC Miami City Champions, the Lehigh Valley United Sonic, New York, Palm Beach Suns F.C., and TFC Academy.
The league features 64 teams in four geographic conferences and 10 divisions, as the Eastern and Western conferences contain three divisions while the Southern and Central conferences have two divisions each. Victoria Highlanders FC, previously announced in the league alignment, will not participate in the 2015 season.
FC Miami City will kick the season off as it makes its debut in a Southeast Division showdown against local South Florida rival Floridians FC at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 2, while the OC Pateadores Blues will play host to the Ventura County Fusion and Golden State Misioneros FC will travel to face the Fresno Fuego in opening-day Western Conference action.
The season gets into full swing in its second weekend with 10 matches on the schedule, including the debut of Palm Beach Suns FC (at Floridians FC on Saturday, May 9). The 2014 PDL Champion Michigan Bucks open their title defense on Saturday, May 16, when they welcome newcomer TFC Academy to Ultimate Soccer Arenas.
The regular season concludes with a 20-game slate the weekend of July 17-19, and a total of 23 teams will advance to the postseason, with the league’s conference championship weekend set for July 24-26. Seven teams will advance from the Eastern and Western Conferences, while five teams will advance from the Central Conference, and four from the Southern Conference.
2015 PDL Schedule (link)
YouTube Live will once again serve as the official video platform for the PDL in 2015. Live games from throughout the league as well as team highlights and weekly league videos will provide fans a front-row seat during the season.
The top U23 men’s league in North America, the PDL is the destination league for college-aged players to continue their development toward the professional ranks with clubs from across North America not only competing for a championship each summer, but also providing the opportunity for top-level competition for the best players in the college ranks. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.