VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC are pleased to announce today the formation of a United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) team for the 2008 season. Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency will be the first professional side to compete in the 67-team PDL.
The new franchise will be predominately comprise of players from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program, with Residency managing director and head coach Thomas Niendorf in charge of the side from the sidelines. In addition to the full-time Residency players, members from the Whitecaps first-team squad, who play out of the USL First Division, will be eligible to be sent to the PDL team for conditioning stints. The team will, however, adhere to all PDL limitations on the use of players over 23 years of age.
“This is a huge milestone for our club and an integral piece of our player development model,” said Bob Lenarduzzi, Vancouver Whitecaps FC President. “The PDL is a leader in player development in North America and a perfect fit for our Residency program. In addition to our young stars competing, it will be extremely beneficial to our first-team players, who might need additional playing minutes.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency will compete in the Northwest Division and will play the majority of their home matches at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. They will play a 16-game regular season schedule beginning in May and concluding in July. The 2008 league schedule will be announced in January.
The Northwest Division, part of the PDL’s Western Conference, also includes British Columbia’s Abbotsford Mariners, Washington State’s Tacoma Tide, Yakima Reds and Spokane Spiders, as well as Oregon’s Cascade Surge, who play out of Salem. Utah’s Brigham Young University Cougars and Ogden Outlaws are also part of the Northwest Division.
“With the addition of a PDL team featuring players from its newly established Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program, the Whitecaps continue to aggressively blaze a trail for player development in North America,” said Tim Holt, USL Executive Vice President & COO. “The franchise’s commitment to creating a sustainable, vertically-integrated structure for both elite male and female players is yet another example of why the Whitecaps are legitimately one of North America most important and ambitious soccer clubs.”
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC RESIDENCY
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency is a full-time program dedicated to developing North America’s top youth players in Vancouver. The program allows elite youth players from U-17 to U-19 to achieve professional opportunities with the Whitecaps men’s team and world-class European clubs using the European club model of identification, development and placement.
Although the player development program is in its inaugural year, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency is quickly making a name for itself in the soccer community. The roster totals 16 young stars from across Canada, including 11 members from Canada’s U-17 national team, as well as the Jamaican under-17 national team captain. In a recent trip to Germany, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency showed quite well against some of the top youth teams in the German football league system, including Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart. The program has also seen success in exhibition matches against domestic universities and local top-level senior men’s teams.
Thomas Niendorf is well documented for his achievement of placing England international Owen Hargreaves with FC Bayern Munich and Canadian national team members Kevin McKenna with FC Energie Cottbus and Tamandani Nsaliwa with FC Nürnberg; all three clubs play in Germany’s Bundesliga.
For more information on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program, click here.