TAMPA, Fla. – San Diego Surf Soccer Club, one of the nation’s top youth soccer clubs, and North County Battalion, a stand-alone senior team founded in 2015, have joined forces to launch a yet-to-be-named Premier Development League soccer club that will join the PDL’s Southwest Division beginning with the 2017 season.
“We are always delighted when a high-performing ownership group joins the PDL and raises the level of the entire league,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “We have very high expectations for the NC Battalion/Surf franchise both on and off the field, and they will be one of many other teams in that region that look to operate at a high level and develop players in a talent-rich division.”
The new San Diego-based club will join the Lakeland Tropics, Nashville SC U23, Tobacco Road FC and Wilmington Hammerheads FC as new PDL franchises for 2017, building upon the substantial momentum and steadfast foundation built in the Battalion’s inaugural campaign. Now augmented with the infrastructure of Surf, San Diego’s newest PDL team will look to fulfill the tremendous overall potential for higher-level soccer in the San Diego Area.
“The PDL's ‘Path to Pro’ slogan says it all. By joining the PDL family and aligning with Surf, we are sending a very strong message to our current players and to all of the best youth players in San Diego County and beyond: If you want to play top-level professional soccer, join our club, and let us help you achieve your goals,” Chairman and CFO Jason Gerlach said. “As a player on our team, you are going to get top-tier coaching and fitness training, ample opportunities to play in meaningful matches throughout the year in front of our rabid followers and an ownership group that is committed to winning championships and doing everything in its power to have its players, coaches and staff members achieve their wildest professional soccer aspirations.”
“Our new partnership with San Diego Surf and the PDL is a dream come true for me and a tremendously positive development for all San Diego soccer fans as we continue our quest to bring to San Diego County the highest possible level of soccer excellence,” NC Battalion founder and CEO Jason Barbato added. “We cannot wait to share with the community more details of this venture, and we plan to do so shortly, likely during early December.”
Founded in 2015 as NC Battalion, the new PDL club will continue to play its home matches in California’s soccer hotbed in the northern area of San Diego County. In its new partnership with Surf, the club will look to build upon the burgeoning and loyal fan base NC Battalion built throughout San Diego County in its inaugural 2016 spring and fall seasons.
“We could not be more excited to be aligning ourselves with NC Battalion and the PDL in this exciting new venture,” said San Diego Surf Soccer Club President Jeremy McDonald. “For nearly four decades, San Diego Surf has stood for championship-level excellence in youth soccer both here in the Southern California region and on a national basis. And now in 2017, we look to extend that success to professional soccer and the PDL.
“Jason Barbato, along with Jason Gerlach, has built an incredible foundation in NC Battalion, and by supplementing that foundation with the players, coaches and resources of Surf, we’re confident that our club will immediately become a championship-contending PDL side and an incubator for top-level pro soccer talent for years to come.”
The PDL has a 22-year history of helping high-caliber players rise to the professional ranks. U.S. Men’s National Team members Sacha Kljestan, Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes and Geoff Cameron are among the many PDL alums currently competing professionally. More than 200 PDL alumni participated in the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season, while more than 350 former players took part in the 2016 United Soccer League campaign.
As a major development platform for future professional players, the PDL currently has 12 franchises owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or holding a partnership with an MLS or USL club.