TAMPA, Fla. – The Premier Development League has awarded Houston Football Club, which will compete in the Southern Conference, a franchise ahead of the 2017 regular season.
“We are excited to have a PDL team in Houston,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “Under the direction of Bruce Talbot, who has plenty of experience in the game and coaching connections, we’re sure that Houston FC will be a high-performing team on and off the field. We feel that Mr. Talbot and his staff will be able to capture the most elite players in that region to help them on their path to the professional level.”
Houston FC is led by President Jeff Fetzer, who is an active advocate of Houston youth soccer volunteering and holds numerous leadership positions with local soccer clubs. Fetzer attained his Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Indiana University and his Master of Business Administration from Rice University.
“Establishing a team at the pinnacle of amateur soccer has long been a dream of ours, and we are committed to the long-term development of our players,” Fetzer said. “We look forward to contributing to the global game in our local soccer community.”
Talbot, who played collegiately at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has coaching experience at North Carolina and Clemson University and will serve as Head Coach for Houston FC. Along with prior PDL head coaching experience, Talbot has also worked with multiple youth clubs as Director of Coaching and Player Development, including Lonestar Soccer Club and Capital Area Soccer League.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of the PDL and to continue to grow soccer in the Houston community,” Talbot said. “I’m looking forward to working with Ian Spooner from San Jac Athletics, local colleges and local clubs in order to provide college-aged players a platform to improve their game.”
The PDL, a part of the United Soccer Leagues – which also operates the Division II USL and Super Y League – has served as a major development platform for aspiring professional players since 1995. A total of 566 PDL alums have been selected in Major League SuperDrafts since 2000, while nearly 70 percent of MLS draftees since 2010 have had PDL experience.
Among the PDL alumni currently competing professionally are 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, 2016 Defender of the Year Matt Hedges and U.S. Men’s National Team members Gyasi Zardes, Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan, Geoff Cameron, DeAndre Yedlin and Darlington Nagbe.