TAMPA, Fla. - In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Utah Youth Soccer Association will partner with the Premier Development League and launch a PDL team to begin play in 2018. Ogden City S.C. will be the sixth PDL expansion team announced for next year, with further branding announcements to be made in the near future.
“We are thrilled to launch a unique partnership between the PDL and the state soccer association in Utah,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “Pioneering a brand new method of establishing a clear pathway for the continued development of young players throughout the state is an exciting opportunity, one that we believe will be a massive success in Utah.”
Founded in 1977, the UYSA is the state’s largest soccer organization, serving as the governing body for youth soccer in Utah on behalf of the U.S. Soccer Federation, recognized by both the USSF and U.S. Olympic Committee. The UYSA is dedicated to the continued development of its players, and aims to expand the opportunities for older youth players with its PDL partnership and franchise.
“Utah Youth Soccer Association is committed to soccer and its development as well as that of all players,” said UYSA President Brian Smith. “We feel there is a gap to be filled in helping our older youth find viable developmental continuity as they enter college, pro academies etc. Working with our local colleges, universities, and UYSA member organizations, I feel UYSA and USL/PDL, will be a great step to providing that next level in the soccer career path for the youth of Utah.”
"The PDL is a game changer for soccer in the state as a whole,” added Head Coach Eric Landon. “Adding a PDL franchise that is owned and operated by the largest soccer organization in the state, lets us have a unique development opportunity. Our players will now have a chance to continue their development through a professional league which will enable them to take key steps in their careers to collegiate or professional levels."
“We are excited to be part of the PDL and remain committed to growing the game of soccer in the State of Utah.” UYSA CERO Andrew R. Hiatt said.
With team branding set to be determined through fan involvement at a later date, Ogden City S.C. will be the sixth expansion team announced to begin play in 2018. They join a to-be-named Birmingham franchise, the AHFC Royals, Lansing United,Corpus Christi FC, and Lionsbridge FC as previously announced teams.
“Enough can’t be said about the leadership that Utah Youth Soccer has shown in their work to bring a PDL team to the state," said Joel Nash, PDL Director of Business Development. "This will be a groundbreaking opportunity for the state to lead its players through a platform proven to highlight their talents as they enhance their careers. Opportunities won’t just exist for players, but through the PDL team, players will have experiential opportunities in front office roles.”
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced Division III league and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
Nearly 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 59 alums chosen in 2017. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.
To learn more about the UYSA, visit their page at www.utahyouthsoccer.net and follow the club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The PDL team will have its own website at www.ogdencitysc.com, and a social media handle of @OgdenCitySC on Facebook and Instagram.