TAMPA, Fla — USL Memphis, set to begin play in the Division II United Soccer League in 2019, has acquired Memphis City FC, who will compete in the Premier Development League’s Deep South Division in 2018.
"We are thrilled to announce the addition of Memphis City FC, our final new member club for the 2018 PDL season," said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. "The Deep South Division looks to be incredibly competitive in its debut season, and the addition of two new member clubs in the Birmingham Hammers and Memphis City FC only elevate the level of competition in the region. The club’s ties to USL Memphis will further Memphis City FC’s ability to develop athletes of the highest caliber."
Led by Principal Owner Peter Freund, President Craig Unger and Sporting Director Andrew Bell, USL Memphis is the latest addition in sweeping growth across the South for the USL, following the likes of Birmingham Legion FC, Nashville SC and others. Ahead of the club’s inaugural 2018 season, it will own and operate Memphis City FC in the PDL, with venue, head coach and other information to be announced in the near future.
"We applaud all of the work that Doug Kranz and Dan Collins did to establish Memphis City, and we look forward to building upon their success," USL Memphis President Craig Unger said. "This is an exciting first step in unifying professional soccer in Memphis."
"We are thrilled to be able to operate a team in the PDL in 2018 as we continue our preparations for the launch of USL Memphis next March," USL Memphis Sporting Director Andrew Bell said. "This is an important part of our player development program, and we are looking to start that process with the upcoming 2018 PDL season. Operating Memphis City FC in the PDL will allow us to work closely with the local college soccer programs and also take a look at some elite local high school players as we help support the existing Memphis soccer community."
Memphis City FC joins the new Deep South Division beginning play this season. In addition to the Birmingham Hammers, Memphis City FC will compete against Mississippi Brilla FC, Tri-Cities Otters, South Georgia Tormenta FC, the SC United Bantams and Peachtree City MOBA.
"We’re delighted to have Memphis create and begin a true pathway to professional soccer in their own community," said USL Director of Business Development Joel Nash. "As they build toward their inaugural USL season in 2019, we’re confident this PDL team will continue the exciting soccer culture being built in Memphis."
The PDL is a part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the new USL Division III and Super Y League and 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 league-high 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, U.S. Men’s National Team members in Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream and Werder Bremen and U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team standout Josh Sargent.