TAMPA, Fla. – The 2017 Premier Development League Championship between the Thunder Bay Chill and Charlotte Eagles has been scheduled to stream live on ESPN3 at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 5, marking the first time a PDL match has been available on an ESPN network.
The title game will take place at the Sportsplex at Matthews Stadium in Matthews, North Carolina, and will be available to watch for all United States-based supporters via ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network that is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and streaming devices through the ESPN app. For fans and followers outside of the U.S., the match can be seen live via the PDL’s official YouTube channel.
“As the top amateur league in North America, we’re thrilled with the opportunity to showcase the 2017 PDL Championship on an ESPN network for the first time in history,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “The match will promote the many talented players on the Charlotte Eagles and Thunder Bay Chill looking to make the jump to the professional ranks, as well as the PDL teams that have excelled both on and off the field. This will be an exciting game and one that viewers will find very entertaining.”
ESPN3 is currently available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
Play-by-play host Mike Watts and analyst Morgan Conklin will partner as the telecast team for Saturday’s title match. As the voice of the USL, Watts has called the past two USL Cup Finals, and previously worked with ESPN, SEC Network, various regional MLS broadcasts and CONCACAF – including Gold Cup and Champions League matches. A four-year player at Virginia Tech who also went to the NCAA College Cup in 2013, Conklin has previous experience with the SEC Network, ESPN3 and Fox Sports South.
Led by 2015 PDL Coach of the Year Dave Dixon the Eagles will take part in their first PDL Championship after starting league play in 2015. On the road to the final, Charlotte topped the Seacoast United Phantoms 4-1 before edging the Long Island Rough Riders 4-2 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie. In the PDL Championship Semifinals on Saturday, July 29, the Eagles edged Southern Conference champion Mississippi Brilla FC 3-1. The Eagle’s talented forward Joao Costa and defender Douglas Oliveira were named to the 2017 PDL All-Eastern Conference Team, while four players – Ryan Williams, Kelvin Omondi, Mutaya Mwape and James Pyle – are featured on the fifth edition of the 2017 PDL Top Prospects list.
The Chill will be making their fourth appearance in the PDL Championship, having won the title in 2008. Head Coach Giovanni Petraglia has lead the Chill to the final with 2-0 victories against both K-W United FC and the Des Moines Menace, as well as a 1-0 home win against the FC Golden State Force in the PDL Championship Semifinals on Saturday. Chill captain Mitchell Osmond and dynamic midfielder Abraham Villon were voted to the 2017 PDL All-Central Conference Team.
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced Division III league and Super Y League, the PDL serves as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals. Since 2010, nearly 70 percent of MLS SuperDraft selections have PDL experience, including a total of 59 selected in 2017. Among the many notable alumni to have played in the PDL include U.S. Men’s National Team members Darlington Nagbe, Jordan Morris, Matt Hedges, Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes.