TAMPA, Fla. – The top pre-professional league in North America, the Premier Development League, has named two new Co-Directors in preparation for the 2018 campaign. Former Assistant PDL Director, Mike Panter, will be elevated to PDL Director of Operations & Compliance, while Chris Madden will serve as PDL Director of Competition & Development. Former PDL Director Todd Eason has accepted a position as Director of Development at the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy effective Oct. 31.
“The Premier Development League has made massive strides on and off the field for more than two decades, helping the development of many professionals now playing around the world,” United Soccer League CEO Alec Papadakis said. “In recent years, the league has climbed to new heights under the leadership of Todd Eason. While we are extremely grateful for his service to the league, we are also excited to bring a new structure to the PDL that will better serve the needs of our clubs. The PDL has already cemented itself as the preeminent pre-professional league in North America, and Mike Panter and Chris Madden offer a new direction to the league as it continues to climb to new heights.”
The PDL shifted its focus to promote and highlight the talent in the league under the leadership of Eason, who departs his position having led the league since 2015, introducing the PDL Top Prospects list and USL Scouting Network. Nearly 70 percent of all Major League Soccer SuperDraft selections since 2010 have had PDL experience, with more than 100 players chosen in the past two drafts and many more expected to be selected in 2018. Among the many notable PDL alums include Newcastle United F.C. defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges and Atlanta United FC goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, LLC, which also operates the USL, the USL Division III and Super Y League, the PDL featured 72 teams in four conferences in 2017. Lansing United, Corpus Christi, the AHFC Royals and a to-be-named Birmingham franchise have already been announced as expansion clubs set to begin play in 2018, while more additions are expected before the end of the year.