TAMPA, Fla. – The Premier Development League has released its 2017 schedule, with 72 franchises and 16 new clubs kicking off the season, which starts on May 5. The PDL Playoffs will begin with play-in matches on July 18, while the PDL Championship will take place on Aug. 5.
“We are extremely excited for the 23rd season of the Premier Development League to begin,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “We look forward to working with the 15 new ownership groups and are eager to build off the success from 2016, as well as the 2017 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The PDL will demonstrate why it is the top amateur league in North America both on and off the field in 2017.”
A total of 10 divisions – Great Lakes, Heartland, Northeast, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic, Mid South, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest and Mountain – make up the structure of the league. The Great Lakes and Heartland Divisions will compete in the Central Conference, the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic Divisions will play in the Eastern Conference, the Mid South and Southeast Divisions will take part in the Southern Conference and the Western Conference will be comprised of the Northwest, Southwest and Mountain Divisions.
The Michigan Bucks, winners of the 2016 PDL Championship – their third in franchise history – will begin their 2017 campaign on May 13. The Bucks host 2015 PDL champion K-W United FC at the Ultimate Soccer Arena. Calgary Foothills FC, winner of the 2016 Western Conference Championship and runner-up in the PDL Championship, plays its inaugural match of the regular season against TSS FC Rovers at Glenmore Athletic Park on May 5.
Texas United, FC Cleburne, Tampa Bay Rowdies U23, SIMA Águilas, Weston FC, Lakeland Tropics, Myrtle Beach Mutiny, Houston FC, FC Boulder, Nashville SC U23, Tobacco Road FC, Wilmington Hammerheads FC, SoCal Surf, a Brazos Valley-based club and a Denver-based franchise join the league as expansion teams.