Photo courtesy of Charlotte Eagles
MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Charlotte Eagles defeated the Thunder Bay Chill 2-1 at the Sportsplex at Matthews Stadium in Matthews, North Carolina, to win the 2017 Premier Development League Championship in front of 1,356 on Saturday.
Eagles captain Ryan Williams, who was named PDL Championship Most Valuable Player after the match, scored the game-winner in the 61st minute via a free kick after the teams finished the first half 1-1. Patricio Arce netted the first goal of the game, heading in a corner kick to give the Chill the lead in the 21st minute. Joao Costa, who was named to the 2017 PDL All-Eastern Conference Team, hit a stunning scissor kick to level the match before the break.
“Congratulations to the Charlotte Eagles, who are deserving champions, and the Thunder Bay Chill on an incredible run to the 2017 PDL Championship,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “The match exceeded all of my expectations in every way. Not only were fans and followers able to watch top amateur talent compete at a high level with a great broadcast on ESPN3, but the soccer-specific stadium at the Sports plex at Matthews served as an incredible venue to showcase the teams and league.”
Led by 2015 PDL Coach of the Year Dave Dixon, the Eagles claimed their first PDL Championship title since joining the league in 2015. Talented forward Costa, who was dangerous throughout the match, and Douglas Oliveira were the only Eagles players named to the 2017 PDL All-Eastern Conference Team. Four players – PDL Championship MVP Williams, Kelvin Omondi, Mutaya Mwape and James Pyle – were named to the fifth edition of the 2017 PDL Top Prospects list.
Led by Head Coach Giovanni Petraglia, the Chill finish the 2017 campaign as Central Conference champions and with a 12-4-2 record including the PDL Playoffs. Chill captain Mitchell Osmond, who was named 2017 PDL Defender of the Year on Friday, and talented midfielder Abraham Villon were voted to the 2017 PDL All-Central Conference Team.