Speaking with The USL Show on Friday morning, PDL Co-Director Chris Madden discussed the upcoming 2018 PDL season, featuring 74 total clubs competing across 11 divisions in four conferences, including 12 new member clubs.
While touching on the club’s record number of selections at the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, in which 66 players were taken comprising over 80 percent of all picks, Madden touched on the massive growth the league has seen in recent years, including in the production of U.S. Men’s National Team players.
“There’s definitely a lot going on in the back office here at the USL, especially in the PDL department where we’re growing unbelievably quickly,” Madden said. “We’re growing to 74 teams this year, four conferences, 11 divisions, with our newest division being Deep South Division, competing in the Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee area, as well as Georgia. Our league office is working really hard to be the top pre-professional pathway for our players and our teams. We in the league office are proud to have the most teams we’ve ever had competing with no signs of stopping. This year we had 66 players drafted in the MLS SuperDraft, which was over 80 percent of the SuperDraft. One thing that we recently put together was a culmination of all of our players that had U.S. Men’s National Team caps, and it came out to 68 players that had appeared for the National Team since the creation of PDL. So we’re definitely adding that nice statistic to the feather in our cap.”
Included in the USL’s rapid growth is the launch of the all-new USL Division III, launching in 2019. During the conversation, Madden touched on what the addition of a Division III league means for the USL as a whole, and specifically how it affects the PDL.
“First of all, we’re obviously proud of our two PDL teams, South Georgia Tormenta FC and FC Tucson, who will be moving on to the Division III ranks,” said Madden. “In all reality, we’re all on the same page here at the USL. Any time we can provide more opportunities for players to go to the professional ranks, I think that’s what’s best for U.S. soccer. We’re just happy to be a part of it, and the PDL will continue - especially since we’re very familiar with the teams that are going to the Division III ranks - we’re looking for any and all opportunities for players, coaches and even teams to go professional and move up the ranks.”
To listen to more of Madden’s interview with The USL Show, listen in to the embedded audio below, or visit the Beautiful Game Network and follow along.