Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency face Lower Mainland rivals Abbotsford Mariners in their inaugural game in the USL Premier Development League at Simon Fraser University on Sunday afternoon.
Fresh off their latest trip to Germany, the Residency squad will look to make their mark over the next two months by playing in the Northwest Division of the PDL's Western Conference. Northwest Division teams include Sunday's opponent Abbotsford, 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.
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.