TAMPA, Fla. — The fourth new member club to join the Premier Development League for the 2019 season, Cedar Stars Rush will compete in the Mid Atlantic Division starting next year.
“The Mid Atlantic Division was one of the strongest divisions in the PDL last season,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “With two of four Eastern Conference playoff teams hailing from the region, the addition of Cedar Stars Rush simply adds to the strength of the league in the area and New Jersey in particular.”
Born out of a historic collaboration between Cedar Stars Academy and Rush Soccer, the Bergen County-based PDL club will strengthen collaborative ties between the two strong youth programs, adding an exciting platform to the Cedar Stars Academy (CSA) Player Development Pathway and offering elite-level players and current Rush alumni in college a chance to continue their growth towards the professional game. The club’s administration will also be a joint effort, with Rush alumni and current Rush Soccer Director of Operations Justin Miller serving as General Manager and Cedar Stars Technical Adviser Juan Santamaria serving as Technical Director.
“The objective is to help run a strong first-year PDL team,” Miller said. “This league is growing, and there are many programs around this area. The key this year will be to help build a strong foundation for our future goals of being the top PDL team in the division, and then the country.”
“We are very excited to be bringing a PDL club to all of our CSA and Rush families,” said Santamaria. “This is just another step added to our growing player pathway system. We want to keep giving our players opportunities for growth within the game and the PDL is a great platform for that.”
Cedar Stars Rush becomes the fourth new member club announced for the 2019 PDL season, joining previously announced Discoveries SC, Florida Elite Soccer Academy and Wake FC. It also becomes the league’s third New Jersey-based club, joining the nearby New York Red Bulls U23 and Ocean City Nor’easters in the Mid Atlantic Division.
“A partnership like the one between CSA and Rush is incredible not only for the PDL, but for American soccer, with two elite organizations coming together to offer a bridge to professional soccer for their elite talent,” said PDL Vice President Joel Nash. “Each of these organizations are leaders in building their club’s communities and we’re excited to see the impact on each club’s pathway as this team comes to fruition.”
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the new USL Division III and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
More than 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 66 alums chosen in 2018. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.
A deep passion and love for the sport of soccer, along with a desire to give opportunities to young people, drove President George Altirs to form Cedar Stars Academy (CSA) in 2011. Today, more than seven years after the inaugural season of the green and white, and through the connections to international brand Capelli Sport and its global network, Cedar Stars Academy is recognized as an international soccer program with an inclusive player development pathway that stretches around the entire globe, elite-professional coaches, and top facilities that help to facilitate player growth and development. With more than 2,000 active male and female athletes, Cedar Stars Academy currently has nine branches, which includes official membership within the United States Soccer Development Academy Program (DA), recognized around the U.S. as one of the top platforms for player development and competition, as well as USYS National League participation and competition.
Rush Soccer is an international sports organization focused on the development of soccer players. Rush Soccer has partnered with over 85 clubs across the globe and provides comprehensive club development curriculum that benefits over 32,000 players across the globe. As one of the largest soccer clubs in the world - and with an ever-expanding global footprint - Rush Soccer is creating a brand of soccer unavailable anywhere else in the country. The organization’s extensive network of professional coaches and technical staff are dedicated to the betterment of soccer in the United States and developing a better quality of soccer player within the Rush system.