TAMPA, Fla. - The Premier Development League today welcomed FC Boulder as its newest expansion side ahead of the 2017 season. Led by FC Boulder Executive Director Adam Hayes and FC Boulder's PDL General Manager Nikki Marshall, the Colorado-based club adds a PDL franchise, which will compete in the league as the FC Boulder U23, to the top of its developmental pyramid.
"We have focused on adding franchises that have ambitious, hard-working ownership groups who work with their community and are firm believers in the 'Path to Pro' model, and FC Boulder fits that description perfectly," PDL Director Todd Eason said. "As a U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) club with a PDL franchise at the top of their development pyramid, FC Boulder has created a clear pathway to the professional level."
With the addition of FC Boulder, founded in 2012, into the PDL, 16 franchises are affiliated, owned or operated by DA clubs. DA-sanctioned clubs focus on increased training and meaningful games using international rules of competition in order to maximize youth player development.
"For our youth-based organization to be a part of the PDL is a really great honor and is a testament to our club-wide philosophies of player development," Hayes said. "We are committed to providing a top-notch developmental environment for our players and are proud to represent the PDL in Colorado."
"We have a great track record of developing players, and I believe we will be able to attract a high level of players to Boulder for the PDL season," Marshall added.
Luis Swisher will lead FC Boulder's 2017 team as Head Coach. Swisher, who earned 23 caps for the Guatemala Men's National Team and now serves as a U.S.-based scout for Guatemala, has a U.S. Soccer Federation "B" Coaching License and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Master Coach Diploma.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity to work in the PDL," Swisher said. "FC Boulder is a fantastic club with great values, and we are making the commitment every day to help all our players become better soccer players. This new endeavor is huge for our community, and I am excited about leading this team and look forward to a great 2017 season."
FC Boulder joins Weston FC, Lakeland Tropics, Myrtle Beach Mutiny, Nashville SC U23, Tobacco Road FC, Wilmington Hammerheads FC and a San Diego-based team as expansion franchises set to take part in the 2017 PDL season.
As a part of the United Soccer League, operators of the Division II USL as well as the Super Y League, the PDL is focused on creating a clear 'Path to Pro' for elite college-aged players. More than 200 PDL alumni, including 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges and 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, were a part of the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season, and more than 350 PDL alumni, including USL MVP Sean Okoli, took part in the USL regular season.