Montreal Impact U23 will join the PDL for the 2014 season. Photo Credit: USL-PDL
Soccer News: Montreal Impact U23 Join PDL for 2014 Season
Becomes fifth MLS club to enter team in top development league
The PDL has announced the addition of the Montreal Impact U23 to the league for the 2014 season. The Impact become the fifth club from Major League Soccer (MLS) to enter a team in the PDL, the top amateur development league in North America. They join the Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps.
“The addition of the Montreal Impact is another fantastic step forward for the PDL, following the recent announcement of the San Jose Earthquakes,” PDL Senior Director Ryan Brooks said. “More and more MLS and USL PRO teams are realizing that the PDL is an ideal platform for the development of their young talent.”
Five members of the Impact’s Academy have previously signed professionally with the club’s MLS side, including recent Canadian Men’s National Team call-up Karl Ouimette. The PDL will offer a place for the club’s Academy graduates to continue their development, while maintaining college eligibility and Home Grown Player status.
“The PDL will be a good level of competition for us this year,” Impact Academy director Philippe Eullaffroy said. “We will be able to better manage our roster between PDL games, the U18 competing in the USSDA and the MLS Reserve League games.”
The PDL has been the destination league for young college 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.
In addition to the five MLS teams that currently have teams competing in the PDL, three other clubs have formed affiliations with PDL sides, with the New England Revolution (Real Boston Rams), Philadelphia Union (Reading United AC) and Seattle Sounders FC (Sounders FC U23) having seen players from their academy systems compete in the PDL this past season.
Among the Home Grown Players to recently star in the PDL were 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year finalist DeAndre Yedlin of the Seattle Sounders FC, who was a 2012 All-League Selection in the PDL for the Sounders FC U23. The LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes was also an All-Western Conference selection for the Ventura County Fusion in 2012 before a standout rookie season placed him fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting.
As a league, the PDL has been the home to the last three MLS Rookie of the Year selections, with former Austin Aztex midfielder Dillon Powers earning the 2013 award last week to follow 2011 winner C.J. Sapong of Reading United and 2012 winner Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire U-23.
About the PDL: The top developmental men’s league in North American, the 2013 PDL featured 64 teams within four conferences throughout the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, seven home and seven away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.
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