Helping to complete the player development pathway in Colorado Springs, the Colorado Pride Switchbacks U23 will launch as one of two new member clubs in the Mountain Division in 2018.
Fully linking the local youth club, Pride Soccer Club, with the local USL team, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, one of the 12 new PDL teams for this upcoming season will serve as the bridge between the youth and professional levels. In addition to fielding a highly competitive team against PDL standouts such as FC Tucson and the Albuquerque Sol FC, the club wants to provide a positive, entertaining atmosphere that allows fans to view the next generation of great professional players within their community.
While helping to turn the team’s vision into a reality this season, the Pride Switchbacks U23’s Diego Zaltron talked with USLPDL.com to discuss the year ahead and the state of soccer in Colorado Springs.
PDL: What factors led you to seek PDL membership in 2018?
Diego Zaltron: Our executive team, with Candy Brooks at the helm, has taken educated and meticulous steps to progress Pride Soccer Club since its establishment in 1994. Now In 2018, and with more than 5,000 players, our club felt it was the right time to further expand our program. There were 2 main goals for this year: Build a better relationship with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC organization, and create a pathway within our youth club so that our players could be inspired to get to the next level. Adding a PDL franchise was the natural vehicle to merge those two goals.
PDL: Colorado Pride Switchbacks U23 will be the PDL affiliate of the USL’s Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and is built on top of the massive Pride SC youth organization. How does that top-to-bottom structure benefit all three organizations?
DZ: The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC now have a more meaningful connection with a huge base of youth soccer players. Although both organizations previously worked together in some capacity, now this partnership lead by the PDL team fulfills the slogan "My City, My Team and now My Club" The PDL team will help to improve and challenge local, national and international players with aspirations to be professionals. Steve Trittschuh, the Switchbacks FC head coach, and Wolde Harris, the assistant coach, will have the opportunity to scout and assess future players for the USL team, some of which could include past or present Pride youth players. Pride Soccer Club now offers a complete pathway from youth to professional.
PDL: How was your first experience at the PDL Winter Summit?
DZ: Fantastic! It was a great location, very good information and organization. Joel Nash did a great job welcoming us into the PDL family. Our region is so blessed to have someone like Ron Patel from Albuquerque Sol FC, who has also been very helpful. Joel and Ron’s dedication and selflessness to share their experience and knowledge has been invaluable.
PDL: What are you most looking forward to in your first PDL season?
DZ: Truly, our expectation is to put a good product out there for our club and our community. We want to produce a good team where our players will improve, train and play at an elite level and enjoy themselves. We also want to provide a good, positive atmosphere where families can come out and enjoy good soccer, and embrace the opportunity to build something unique in Colorado Springs.
PDL: You join the PDL as one of two new member clubs in the Mountain Division, alongside Ogden City SC, and will compete against prominent clubs such as FC Tucson and the Albuquerque Sol FC. How do you feel about the level of competition you’ll be facing in 2018?
DZ: We are the new kids on the block. Humbly, we will take one game at a time and try to learn as much as we can. The competition will be tough, but I believe the team will represent the Pride Soccer Club and the Switchbacks FC well.
PDL: What are some goals you’d like to achieve as a club in 2018?
DZ: Promote players to the professional team and create a tradition in our club where young kids can be inspired to be the next USL, MLS or international star.