Darren Sawatsky

Sounders FC U23 Head Coach & General Manager

"The PDL Scouting Network is made up of people with vast histories of playing, coaching and educating in youth soccer, college soccer and the professional game here in the United States and abroad. Many of the USL scouts that produce the Top Prospect lists that are handed to MLS Head Coaches and General Managers have experience in the college game and professional game through all its incarnations here in the United States to present-day MLS. This experience includes leagues and institutions at all levels over a huge country.

“MLS and USL teams have scouts and coaches that have played and coached with the current scouting network so constant communication happens and trust is established in terms of what the highest level professional teams and coaches are looking for in players. With each year, there is a bigger pool of soccer people with knowledge of the highest level as both MLS and USL grow and expand.

“The evolution of the scouting network and the development of players is on a positive track and we help the professional teams because we can both help them find new players that play through the PDL teams as well as validate some of what they see when they scout these players in college soccer games and youth academy, regional teams and national pools.

“The beautiful thing about the PDL is you have a mix of the top college soccer players getting their summer work in, local players looking to break into the professional soccer pyramid and players from abroad working their way into U.S. Soccer and the professional leagues. This is a unique mix of players competing at the highest level of amateur soccer in front of a network of scouts that can help change their life overnight with the right phone call or addition to a list. That is a positive evolution of the player development pathway and it continues to get better each year."