USL Premier Development League

USL Premier Development League

The USL Premier Development League (PDL) is the amateur league of the United Soccer Leagues in the United States and Canada, forming part of the American Soccer Pyramid. It is currently the top level men's amateur competition in the United States, and has 67 teams competing in four conferences, split into ten regional divisions; unofficially, it is considered to be the fourth tier of competition, behind Major League Soccer, the USL First Division and the USL Second Division, and roughly equal with the National Premier Soccer League and the Pacific Coast Soccer League.

While not strictly a "professional" league in the sense that players do not receive payment, the PDL prides itself on its professionalism in terms of organization and the way the league is run, and its dedication to developing young soccer players, preparing them for future careers in professional leagues in the United States and elsewhere. As PDL seasons take place during the summer months, the player pool is drawn mainly from elite NCAA college soccer players seeking to continue playing high level soccer during their summer break, which they can do while still maintaining their college eligibility.

In addition, PDL squads often also include standout high school and junior club players, as well as former professionals seeking to continue competing at a high level, often having been forced to retire from top flight competition due to age or injury. PDL rules dictate that a maximum of eight players on each team's 26-man roster can be over 23 years old, while at least three players on each team's roster must be 18 or younger.

Increasingly, the PDL is seen as a 'shop window' for professional clubs looking to discover and identify aspiring professional players who may enter the MLS SuperDraft in future years. Many of the players currently playing in Major League Soccer and elsewhere began their careers in the PDL.


In 1995 the USISL split into two leagues, one professional and one amateur. The United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues Premier Development Soccer League, more commonly known simply as the Premier League, was formed as an amateur league apart from the professional USISL Pro League teams. Its main purpose was to improve soccer capabilities to many urban areas throughout the USA and Canada and offer current college soccer players experience without losing their college eligibility.

In 1999 the umbrella USISL changed its name to the United Soccer Leagues and the Premier League officially became known as the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League or, more commonly, the PDL.

Today, some of the PDL teams serve as farm teams to United Soccer Leagues and Major League Soccer clubs, notably Chicago Fire Premier, Colorado Rapids U23's, Atlanta Silverbacks U23's, Cary RailHawks U23's and Richmond Kickers Future, and there are increasing reports that more MLS teams will begin fielding U23 teams in the PDL in years to come.

2008 Teams

Central Conference

Great Lakes Division

*Cincinnati Kings flag|Ohio|name=OH
*Cleveland Internationals flag|Ohio|name=OH
*Michigan Bucks flag|Michigan|name=MI
*Toronto Lynx flag|Ontario|name=ON
*West Virginia Chaos flag|West Virginia|name=WV

Heartland Division

*Colorado Rapids U23's flag|Colorado|name=CO
*Des Moines Menace flag|Iowa|name=IA
*Kansas City Brass flag|Missouri|name=MO
*Springfield Demize flag|Missouri|name=MO
*St. Louis Lions flag|Missouri|name=MO
*Thunder Bay Chill flag|Ontario|name=ON

Midwest Division

*Chicago Fire Premier flag|Illinois|name=IL
*Fort Wayne Fever flag|Indiana|name=IN
*Indiana Invaders flag|Indiana|name=IN
*Kalamazoo Outrage flag|Michigan|name=MI
*West Michigan Edge flag|Michigan|name=MI

Eastern Conference

Mid Atlantic Division

*Fredericksburg Gunners flag|Virginia|name=VA
*Hampton Roads Piranhas flag|Virginia|name=VA
*Northern Virginia Royals flag|Virginia|name=VA
*Reading Rage flag|Pennsylvania|name=PA
*Richmond Kickers Future flag|Virginia|name=VA
*Virginia Legacy flag|Virginia|name=VA

New England Division

*Cape Cod Crusaders flag|Massachusetts|name=MA
*New Hampshire Phantoms flag|New Hampshire|name=NH
*Ottawa Fury flag|Ontario|name=ON
*Rhode Island Stingrays flag|Rhode Island|name=RI
*Vermont Voltage flag|Vermont|name=VT

Northeast Division

*Brooklyn Knights flag|New York|name=NY
*Long Island Rough Riders flag|New York|name=NY
*New Jersey Rangers flag|New Jersey|name=NJ
*Newark Ironbound Express flag|New Jersey|name=NJ
*Ocean City Barons flag|New Jersey|name=NJ
*Westchester Flames flag|New York|name=NY

outhern Conference

Mid South Division

*Austin Aztex U23 flag|Texas|name=TX
*Baton Rouge Capitals flag|Louisiana|name=LA
*DFW Tornados flag|Texas|name=TX
*El Paso Patriots flag|Texas|name=TX
*Houston Leones flag|Texas|name=TX
*Laredo Heat flag|Texas|name=TX
*Mississippi Brilla flag|Mississippi|name=MS
*New Orleans Shell Shockers flag|Louisiana|name=LA

outheast Division

*Atlanta Silverbacks U23's flag|Georgia (U.S. state)|name=GA
*Bradenton Academics flag|Florida|name=FL
*Carolina Dynamo flag|North Carolina|name=NC
*Cary RailHawks U23's flag|North Carolina|name=NC
*Central Florida Kraze flag|Florida|name=FL
*Nashville Metros flag|Tennessee|name=TN
*Palm Beach Pumas flag|Florida|name=FL
*Panama City Pirates flag|Florida|name=FL

Western Conference

Northwest Division

*Abbotsford Mariners flag|British Columbia|name=BC
*BYU Cougars flag|Utah|name=UT
*Cascade Surge flag|Oregon|name=OR
*Ogden Outlaws flag|Utah|name=UT
*Spokane Spiders flag|Washington|name=WA
*Tacoma Tide flag|Washington|name=WA
*Vancouver Whitecaps Residency flag|British Columbia|name=BC
*Yakima Reds flag|Washington|name=WA

outhwest Division

*Bakersfield Brigade flag|California|name=CA
*Fresno Fuego flag|California|name=CA
*Lancaster Rattlers flag|California|name=CA
*Los Angeles Legends flag|California|name=CA
*Orange County Blue Star flag|California|name=CA
*San Fernando Valley Quakes flag|California|name=CA
*San Francisco Seals flag|California|name=CA
*San Jose Frogs flag|California|name=CA
*Southern California Seahorses flag|California|name=CA
*Ventura County Fusion flag|California|name=CA

Announced 2009 Expansion Teams

*London, Ontario PDL flag|Ontario|name=ON [cite news|url=|last=Costa|first=Morris Dalla|date=2008-09-23|title=The city lands a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development franchise for 2009|publisher=The London Free Press|language=english|accessdate=2008-09-23]
*Real Colorado Foxes flag|Colorado|name=CO
*Victoria Highlanders flag|British Columbia|name=BC
*West Texas United flag|Texas|name=TX



*2008 PDL - Thunder Bay Chill
*2007 PDL - Laredo Heat
*2006 PDL - Michigan Bucks
*2005 PDL - Des Moines Menace
*2004 PDL - Central Florida Kraze
*2003 PDL - Cape Cod Crusaders
*2002 PDL - Cape Cod Crusaders
*2001 PDL - Westchester Flames
*2000 PDL - Chicago Sockers
*1999 PDL - Chicago Sockers
*1998 PDSL - San Gabriel Valley Highlanders
*1997 PDSL - Central Coast Roadrunners
*1996 USISL Prem - Central Coast Roadrunners
*1995 USISL Prem - Richmond Kickers

Teams with best regular season record

*2008 PDL - Michigan Bucks
*2007 PDL - Hampton Roads Piranhas
*2006 PDL - Carolina Dynamo
*2005 PDL - Orange County Blue Star
*2004 PDL - Chicago Fire Reserves
*2003 PDL - New Orleans Shell Shockers
*2002 PDL - Des Moines Menace
*2001 PDL - Calgary Storm
*2000 PDL - Westchester Flames
*1999 PDL
*1998 PDSL
*1997 PDSL
*1996 USISL Prem
*1995 USISL Prem - San Francisco All-Blacks United

Complete team list

see "list of Premier Development League franchises"

Notable professional players with PDL experience

* Brian Ching, Spokane Shadow, 1998-99
* Charlie Davies, Westchester Flames, 2006
* Jay DeMerit, Chicago Fire Premier, 2001-02
* Robbie Findley, Boulder Rapids Reserve, 2005-06
* Herculez Gomez, San Diego Gauchos, 2003
* Brad Guzan, Chicago Fire Premier, 2003-04
* Kamani Hill, Orange County Blue Star/San Fernando Valley Quakes, 2005-06
* Patrick Ianni, Southern California Seahorses, 2005
* Vedad Ibišević, St. Louis Strikers/Chicago Fire Premier 2003-04
* Jürgen Klinsmann, Orange County Blue Star, 2003
* Sacha Kljestan, Orange County Blue Star, 2005
* Pete Marino, Cocoa Expos, 2003-06
* Drew Moor, Chicago Fire Premier, 2004
* Pat Noonan, Michigan Bucks, 2002
* Michael Parkhurst, Bradenton Academics, 2003
* Heath Pearce, Bradenton Academics, 2004
* Troy Perkins, Cape Cod Crusaders, 2002-03
* Robbie Rogers, Orange County Blue Star, 2005
* Chris Rolfe, Chicago Fire Premier, 2004
* Jonathan Spector, Chicago Fire Premier, 2003
* Jeremiah White, Ocean City Barons, 2003
* Eric Wynalda, Bakersfield Brigade, 2007-08

Average Attendance

Regular season

*2007: 516
*2006: 561
*2005: 503
*2004: 455
*2003: 492
*2002: 463
*2001: 410
*2000: 423
*1999: 385
*1998: 317
*1997: 304
*1996: 256
*1995: 290


*2006: 895
*2005: 912
*2004: 877
*2003: 703
*2002: 560
*2001: 530
*2000: 481
*1999: 407
*1998: 416
*1997: 397
*1996: 218
*1995: 182

External links

* [ Official PDL site]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • USL Premier Development League — Vorlage:InfoboxFußballwettbwerb/Wartung/Logoformat Voller Name United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League Abkürzung USL PDL Verband …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • USL Premier Development League — 2011 Deporte Fútbol Fundación 1995 Número de equipos 64 (en 4 divisiones) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Premier Development League — Infobox compétition sportive Premier Development League Généralités Création 1995 Organisateur(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • List of Premier Development League franchises — Below is a list of all the teams that ever have, or will, play in the USL Premier Development League …   Wikipedia

  • National Premier Soccer League — Countries  United States …   Wikipedia

  • Women's Premier Soccer League — Infobox compétition sportive Women s Premier Soccer League Généralités Création 1997 Organisateur(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • USL-1 — USL First Division Sport Fußball Gegründet 1997 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • USL Second Division — Vorlage:InfoboxFußballwettbwerb/Wartung/Logoformat Voller Name United Soccer Leagues Second Division Abkürzung USL 2 Erstaustragung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • USL First Division — Vorlage:InfoboxFußballwettbwerb/Wartung/Logoformat Voller Name United Soccer Leagues First Division Abkürzung USL 1 Verband …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • USL Professional Division — Vorlage:InfoboxFußballwettbwerb/Wartung/Logoformat Voller Name United Soccer Leagues Professional Division Abkürzung USL Pro Verband …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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