PDL News Release
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The PDL is pleased to welcome USL PRO’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds as new franchise owners, starting with the 2014 season. The new team, which has yet to be officially named, will serve as a platform for the club’s academy players and elite-level professional prospects in Western Pennsylvania to take their games to the next level.
“The Pittsburgh Riverhounds have been a successful USL PRO franchise for more than a decade and their new PDL team will prove to be an important part of their organization,” PDL Senior Director Ryan Brooks said. “Aspiring professionals from the greater Pittsburgh area will have the ideal environment to develop alongside players already playing at the next level.”
The Riverhounds opened a new soccer-specific facility in 2013, Highmark Stadium, and are the home to reigning USL PRO Most Valuable Player Jose Angulo. Also on Tuesday, the club announced a partnership with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, continuing the club’s outstanding growth in the past 12 months.
“The Riverhounds’ PDL franchise will provide the absolute best opportunity for our area’s most elite players who want to play at the professional level,” said Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney. “We can offer these players top training sessions to stay fit in the summer, opportunities to perform in front of both USL and MLS scouts, and an unmatched set of resources to do so, all while in premier facilities.”
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.
The PDL platform also allows for identification opportunities within high-school aged players. With PDL roster spots available for limited players under the age of 18, the Riverhounds will be able to further prepare young stars for the collegiate and professional levels.
More than 150 PDL alumni have been selected in the last five MLS SuperDrafts, with the last two No. 1 selections, Andrew Farrell of the River City Rovers (2013) and Andrew Wenger of the Carolina Dynamo and Reading United (2012) having spent time in the league.
The league has also been the home to the last three MLS Rookie of the Year selections, with former Austin Aztex midfielder Dillon Powers earning the 2013 award on Monday to follow 2011 winner C.J. Sapong of Reading United and 2012 winner Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire U-23.