Floridians F.C. Joins PDL
PDL News Release
Friday, December 20, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The PDL is pleased to welcome Floridians F.C. to the league for the 2014 season. The Floridians are born of the merger of two of Southest Florida’s prominent soccer entities, A.C. Miami and Schulz Academy. Floridians F.C. will be led by Chairman Pascal Cohen and President Franck Gotsman, and will be the only franchise in the PDL in Southeast Florida in 2014.
Floridians F.C. will aim to develop players from Southeast Florida, giving them the opportunity to reach the highest levels of the sport. One of the brightest examples of the club’s philosophy is 2013 United States Male Athlete of the Year Jozy Altidore, who spent many years being groomed in the Schulz Academy before joining the New York Red Bulls and continuing his brilliant career. With players ranging in age from 15 to 21, Floridians F.C. has put together a professional organization that will be led on the field by a Technical Director who will be introduced in a press conference in January, and brings a wealth of experience, including the development of such players as current New York Red Bulls’ star Thierry Henry, FC Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, and Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi.
Southeast Florida is home to some of the top men’s college soccer programs in the nation, with Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University competing in Division I. The region also boasts strong Division II squads including Barry University, Lynn University and Nova Southeastern University, and also NAIA teams at Memorial University, Johnson & Wales University, Northwood University and St Thomas University, giving the Floridians a deep pool of talent to draw from in its inaugural season.
The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, seven home and seven away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.
The Floridians will compete in the Southeast Division of the Southern Conference in the 2014 season. The PDL team will become the natural pinnacle team for the Floridians F.C. pyramid and will provide top Floridian players with the opportunity to compete in Southeast Florida throughout the summer months. 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 earlier this month to follow 2011 winner C.J. Sapong of Reading United and 2012 winner Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire U-23.