Soccer News: San Jose Earthquakes Purchase PDL Franchise for 2014 Season
Become fourth MLS club to own team in top development league in North America
The PDL announced today the addition of the San Jose Earthquakes to the league for the 2014 season. The Earthquakes will be the fourth club from Major League Soccer (MLS) to directly field a team in the top development league in North America, joining the Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
“We are delighted to add the Earthquakes to the PDL,” USL President Tim Holt said. “The PDL has become a true proving ground for college-aged players in the United States and Canada, with MLS clubs making Homegrown Player signings of those who have come through their PDL clubs. We expect the Earthquakes will take advantage of similar opportunities in the near future as their academy players graduate into the U-23 ranks.”
Three additional MLS clubs also have partnership agreements with PDL franchises, with the Philadelphia Union holding a partnership with Reading United AC, Seattle Sounders FC with the Sounders FC U-23 and New England Revolution with the Real Boston Rams. The Earthquakes will compete in the Western Conference in 2014, which has seen a number of top players emerge in recent years.
Among those to sign as Homegrown Players in MLS is Seattle Sounders FC’s DeAndre Yedlin, who was a PDL All-League selection in 2012. Others include the Portland Timbers’ Brent Richards, who was named PDL Most Valuable Player in 2010 as he led the club’s U-23s to a championship, and Steven Evans. The Vancouver Whitecaps have seen strong production this season from Russell Teibert, who made 28 appearances in the PDL before joining the club’s senior squad.
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.
More than 150 former PDL players have been selected in the MLS SuperDraft in the past five seasons, including each of the past two No. 1 picks – Andrew Wenger (Carolina Dynamo) in 2012 and Andrew Farrell (River City Rovers) in 2013. Each of the past two MLS Rookie of the Year honorees have also been PDL alumni, with C.J. Sapong (Reading United) taking the award in 2011 and Austin Berry (Chicago Fire U-23) in 2012.
About the PDL: The top developmental men’s league in North American, the 2013 PDL features 65 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.
Related Articles: USL on SoccerNation; MLS on SoccerNation