Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics
After helping the Des Moines Menace clinch a third consecutive Heartland Division during the 2016 Premier Development League season, Sam Brotherton completed his path to the professional ranks on Wednesday by signing with English Premier League club Sunderland A.F.C.
Brotherton, who played for the University of Wisconsin for two years and has earned six caps for the senior New Zealand National Team, appeared in five regular season games for the Menace in 2016. The 20-year-old defender then played two games in the PDL Playoffs, recording one assist to help the franchise reach the Central Conference Championship.
The PDL has helped high-caliber players rise to the professional ranks for more than two decades. More than 550 PDL alumni participated in the 2016 Major League Soccer and United Soccer League regular seasons. Among the PDL alumni playing at the next level include 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges, Sierra Leone National Team member Kei Kamara, Iran National Team member Steven Beitashour and U.S. Men’s National Team members Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Perry Kitchen and Sacha Kljestan.
The Menace, led by Head Coach John Pascarella, are preparing to defend their Heartland Division title in 2017. The Meance have helped multiple players move on to the professional level since beginning PDL play in 1995, with four players being chosen in the 2017 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The franchise has had a total of 45 alums selected in their history.
Photo courtesy of Des Moines Menace