PDL News Release
Thursday, December 5, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The PDL is pleased to welcome the Albuquerque Sol FC to the league for the 2014 season. The Sol are led by club President Ron Patel and General Manager Larry Espinoza, while Chris Cartlidge has been named as head coach for the club’s inaugural season.
“We are very pleased to continue the PDL’s expansion into the Southwest,” PDL Senior Director Ryan Brooks said. “New Mexico has been an emerging soccer market, particularly in youth and college soccer, and the Sol will provide the opportunity for the area’s top players to continue their development as they move toward the professional ranks.”
Albuquerque is home to one of the top college soccer programs in the nation at the University of New Mexico. The Lobos consistently rank in the top ten in attendance, and this year claimed their third consecutive conference championship on the way to a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Players such as Real Salt Lake’s Devon Sandoval, the Montreal Impact’s Blake Smith and the Rochester Rhinos’ Lance Rozeboom have been former members of the program. The Sol aim to bring the best the Lobos have to offer along with other top Division I players to build their roster both in 2014 and beyond.
“It is great to welcome this team and PDL soccer to Albuquerque this coming summer,” Cartlidge, also the Director of Soccer at Rio Rapids Soccer Club, said. “Our soccer community continues to grow in size and quality and the addition of a PDL team is the next logical step for our players and supporters. The league will greatly enhance the opportunities for quality young players developed in our state to continue their development as they strive to join the professional ranks.
“The success of the University of New Mexico Men’s Soccer Program and Devon Sandoval with Real Salt Lake highlight our readiness to join one of the premier soccer leagues in the country.”
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.
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.
As a league, the PDL has been the home to the last three MLS Rookie of the Year selections, with former Austin Aztex midfielder Dillon Powers earning the 2013 award last week to follow 2011 winner C.J. Sapong of Reading United and 2012 winner Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire U-23.