PDL, Super-20 League to Align
11 Nov, 2013
New Web Home Launched to Integrate Men’s Leagues
United Soccer Leagues has moved to integrate the top two men’s amateur leagues in North America by aligning the PDL and Super-20 League operationally beginning with the 2014 season. As part of the new working relationship, USL unveiled a new web home with shared elements for both leagues at www.USLPDL.com and www.USLSuper20.com.
By aligning operationally with the PDL, the top men’s developmental league in North America, the Super-20 League will benefit from the established infrastructure of the 66-team PDL, the destination league for college-aged players to continue their development toward the professional ranks. The Super-20 League, which is the longest standing U20 men’s North American amateur league, provides the platform for top 17- to 20-year-olds in the United States and Canada to compete at the elite level.
“We are excited about the potential ahead as both the PDL and Super-20 League continue to grow in their roles as the top men’s developmental leagues in North America,” said Ryan Brooks, Senior Director of the PDL, who will also oversee the Super-20s. “It’s a natural partnership that will allow clubs to streamline the player development process and allow for easier player promotion for those ready to take the next step.
“We will now have a more fully connected three-tiered developmental model for elite player progression with USL PRO, the PDL and the Super-20 League.”
The move to integrate the PDL and Super-20s follows a successful first season of a similar partnership on the women’s side, with the W-League and W-20 aligning operationally prior to the 2013 season. After a smooth first season that saw six W-League teams operate reserve squads in W-20, the leagues held their championship weekends simultaneously at IMG Academy on Bradenton, Florida in July.
The Super-20 League provides a reliable competition structure for higher level men’s teams to utilize for young players requiring increased exposure and development opportunities. The 2014 Super-20 League season is expected to feature more than 50 teams playing 8-12 games from May to July. In 2013 the league featured two MLS-affiliated teams, four USL PRO affiliates, and 12 PDL affiliates.
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.
In addition to the MLS SuperDraft, a number of former PDL alumni have also been signed to Home Grown Player contracts by MLS clubs, with those such as the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes (Ventura County Fusion), New England Revolution’s Scott Caldwell (Michigan Bucks), FC Dallas’ London Woodberry (Baltimore Bohemians) and the Seattle Sounders FC’s DeAndre Yedlin (Sounders FC U23) all continuing their development in the PDL after leaving their MLS club’s academy to play college soccer.
PDL: The top developmental men’s league in North American, the PDL featured 64 teams in 2013 within four conferences across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. 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.