After a successful few days of meetings and workshops, the 2017 PDL Winter Summit in Tampa, Florida, came to a close on Saturday.
From the annual State of the League address, to New Club Orientation and Breakout Meetings, the yearly summit provided an opportunity for the league and its member clubs to connect, share information and develop a platform for another successful season as we enter 2018. A plethora of workshops helped educate and further the league’s objective to provide as much support for its clubs as possible, while laying the groundwork for continued support through the upcoming calendar year.
“The PDL Winter Summit was a fantastic chance to put some names with faces, speak about league-wide projects and develop the relationships necessary to help clubs develop through the 2018 season and beyond,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “I am looking forward to working with our teams on their player initiatives, competition structure and overall membership needs.”
“The Winter Summit is always something we look forward to each year, and this year was a major success,” said PDL Co-Director Mike Panter. “The PDL continues to be the top destination for the best amateur players in North America, and that’s a testament to our clubs, their staffs and their commitment to growing the game within their communities. The sharing of ideas, best practices and tackling obstacles head on together with our teams is something we take pride in, and our ever-growing club services department will only enhance our sophistication as we continue to raise our standards year after year. As a result, the future is bright for the PDL, and there will be even more exciting announcements coming as we enter 2018.”
Aside from multiple, exciting new initiatives, the league will be instituting in support of its member clubs in 2018, the PDL was pleased to welcome a number of new clubs to the league. The league also handed out its annual awards, including the Fresno Fuego claiming the Franchise of the Year award, Myrtle Beach Mutiny being named New Franchise of the Year, Mississippi Brilla FC’s Rusty Bryant being named Executive of the Year and the New York Red Bulls U23 taking home the silverware for their Regular Season Championship.
“We are a league that realizes our clubs are the focal point and foundation of all that we hope to achieve,” said USL Director of Business Development Joel Nash. “With a hands-on and supportive approach to helping bring new teams onboard, the Winter Summit provides a culmination of that work. I was particularly excited to see all of the effort that our new clubs’ leaderships have put in over the past year come to fruition.”
For more than two decades, the PDL has served as a major development platform for players in North America. More than 550 PDL alums took part in the 2017 Major League Soccer and United Soccer League regular seasons. Among the PDL alumni include 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia and U.S. Men’s National Team members Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan and Darlington Nagbe.
Sixteen PDL franchises, including Portland Timbers U23, Orange County SC U23, New York Red Bulls U23 and OKC Energy U23, are owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or hold a partnership with an MLS or USL club.