Ahead of the 2018 PDL season, launching on May 4, PDL Co-Director Chris Madden appeared Friday morning on Episode 12 of the Pint After Podcast, discussing the state of the league heading into its 24th campaign.
Recently, U.S. Soccer announced the launch of an all-new spring college campaign, which includes a number of PDL players who compete at top college programs in the ACC and other conferences. In his discussion with Pint After Podcast, Madden touched on the PDL’s excitement about the increased level of spring organization and how it will benefit the summer PDL season.
“Our relationship with both parties, the NCAA and the U.S. Soccer Federation, is pretty close,” Madden said. “We communicate on a lot of different things like standards for our leagues, we share content for our players and try to promote them on both ends. So I’d say our collaboration is high. We share a similar vision, and that’s helping the U18-U23 age players excel and go on into their pro careers. To talk specifically about the spring league that the U.S. Soccer Federation is promoting, we’re excited about it. A lot of our players, particularly from teams in the Carolina area, play at those universities like Wake Forest. We’re excited about the content sharing part of it, we’re excited about players that will be playing in the summer will be competing in a little more organized fashion in the spring. In the past, and I know this from coaching college soccer, the spring is a bit of a ‘whatever works’ type of thing. We’re setting up friendlies with local colleges, or maybe you’re lucky enough to play a friendly against an MLS or USL side, you can do that as well. The fact that it’s getting a little bit more organized is good, and a positive for players in that age group.”
Additionally, Madden touched on the rapid growth within the U.S. soccer pyramid, particularly within the USL. With a plethora of new teams being founded all around the country, Madden explained what makes the PDL the most attractive destination for strong ownership groups looking to make an impact within the development of American players.
“As for why new teams choose the PDL, it's where the players go,” Madden said. "If you want to build something exciting on the field, and something that's impactful in these kids lives and help them go onto the pro level if they choose to do that, the PDL is the place to go. Like I said, we're trying to position ourselves, and we are the top pre-professional pathway for these players to go on and play at the next level. That's sort of the driving factor for a lot of these teams."
To listen to Madden’s full interview with Pint After Podcast, check out the embedded audio below (begins at 16:30).