2009 PDL schedule announced
Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in conjunction with the United Soccer Leagues (USL), have announced the 2009 USL Premier Development League (PDL) regular season schedule.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency will kick off their second season at Simon Fraser University's Terry Fox Field against expansion side Victoria Highlanders on Sunday, May 3. The Whitecaps play in the 10-club Northwest Division of the PDL's Western Conference, with four new teams added to the division for the 2009 campaign. Victoria are joined by Washington State sides Kitsap Pumas and Seattle Wolves, while USL First Division club Portland Timbers have added a U-23 team to the league. Abbotsford Mariners, Cascade Surge, Spokane Spiders, Tacoma Tide, and Yakima Reds all return for the coming season.
In 2009, the PDL will consist of 68 clubs playing in eight divisions that comprise the league's four conferences. Whitecaps Residency will play a total of 16 regular season matches, with the team playing seven of their nine Northwest Division opponents home and away. Vancouver's home match versus Tacoma Tide on Saturday, June 6, and their away trip to Kitsap Pumas on Sunday, June 21, will be the Residency team's only regular season meetings against both of those clubs. The Whitecaps wrap up their regular season schedule away to Victoria on Sunday, July 19.
24 PDL teams will advance to the postseason tournament in 2009, with the league reverting back to divisional championship playoff matches for the first time since 1998. The top three teams in the Northwest Division will qualify for the playoffs, with the second seed facing the third seed in the first round. The winner will then face the Northwest Division regular season champions in the divisional final, with both games set for the weekend of July 24 - 26. Divisional playoff hosts will be determined by overall seeding - pending availability.
The Northwest Division champions will then advance to the PDL Elite Eight, where the playoff quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on the weekend of July 31 - August 2. With the divisional winners of the Southern and Western Conferences grouped in one half of the PDL playoff bracket, the quarterfinals will pit the top seed versus the fourth seed, while the second seed face the third seed. The two winners will then meet in the semifinals, with the successful club advancing to the PDL championship game on Saturday, August 8. The final will air on Fox Sports World Canada (Fox Soccer Channel in the United States). The locations for the PDL Elite Eight and championship match will be determined via a bid process.
The Whitecaps PDL side will be predominately comprised of players from the Whitecaps Residency program. In addition to the full-time Residency players, members of the Whitecaps first-team squad - who play in the USL First Division - will be eligible to be sent down to the PDL team for conditioning stints.
In their inaugural PDL season in 2008, Whitecaps Residency finished runners-up in the Northwest Division regular season standings before claiming the Western Conference playoff title with a convincing 4-1 victory over Tacoma in Fresno, California, on July 27. In the PDL semifinals, the Whitecaps suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to eventual league champions Thunder Bay Chill in Northern Ontario on August 2.
Whitecaps 2009 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for BC Place and the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. For more information on the 2009 season ticket packages, call 604.669.WAVE (9283) or CLICK HERE.