TAMPA, Fla. – As the Premier Development League prepares to kick off its 24th season, consisting of 74 teams across 11 divisions, the league is proud to announce the addition of Florida Elite Soccer Academy as its newest member club for the 2019 season. The North Florida-based club will launch for the league’s 25th season next summer.
“As the PDL gears up for the upcoming season, we are thrilled to continue our drive to remain the nation’s top pre-professional men’s league in 2019 with the addition of Florida Elite Soccer Academy,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “The Southeast Division has consistently been one of the strongest in the PDL, with teams such as SIMA Aguilas and The Villages SC recently launching to great success. The addition of Florida Elite Soccer Academy will only strengthen the PDL’s presence in Florida and provide another incredible developmental home for future professionals.”
Established in 2014 through the merging of two Northeast Florida clubs, Florida Elite Soccer Academy is a Full Service Soccer Organization dedicated to the growth and enrichment of its participating members. Florida Elite utilizes a player-centric approach that fosters individual confidence along with team success. Through hard work, dedication and a complete commitment to every player from recreational to elite levels, Florida Elite promotes the continual growth and development of its young athletes.
“The establishment of a PDL team within Florida Elite creates a tremendous opportunity in building the ultimate pathway for the successful development of our players,” said Florida Elite Executive Director Sean Bubb. “We felt that a huge part of our 10 year plan of building a full service soccer club for North Florida was placing a PDL team atop our player pyramid. It’s aspirational for our players to one day use it as a stepping stone into the USL or MLS.”
Florida Elite Soccer Academy becomes the second new PDL member club to be announced for the 2019 season, joining the previously announced Discoveries SC.
“We want our kids to dream, and to know that dreams come true if you dedicate yourself and work hard and intelligently.”
“Florida Elite brings both on-field success and off-field professionalism that makes the club a leader in North Florida soccer and a tremendous addition to the league,” said Joel Nash, the USL’s Director of Business Development. “The vision and leadership that Sean Bubb has instilled in Florida Elite, and all the work that Chris Brunner has done is the epitome of professional. We’re delighted to have them continue to raise the bar for all teams in our league.”
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the new USL Division III and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
More than 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 66 alums chosen in 2018. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.