In 2005, the Atlanta Silverbacks brought the W-League to Atlanta, allowing women the opportunity to compete on soccer’s highest stage in North America. In 2006, the Silverbacks will add another opportunity for the area’s most talented players, this time on the men’s side. Today the Atlanta Silverbacks announced the addition of a Professional Developmental League (PDL) franchise that will participate within the United Soccer League.
The PDL is the only national developmental league for men’s soccer. It allows young players to play in a professionalized setting during the summer months. Designed primarily for top US and Canadian players that are under 23 years of age, rosters may have up to eight players over 23 years old and must have one player under 19 years old. College players may participate within this league and retain their college eligibility. The league consists of 59 teams in four conferences spread across the United States and Canada. The Silverbacks’ PDL team will play in the Southern Conference.
The PDL season runs from April until August, and along with the Silverbacks Men and Women, the PDL team will play all home games at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. The Atlanta Silverbacks will compete in the South Atlantic Division of the Southern Conference along with the Augusta Fireball, the Carolina Dynamo, the Nashville Metros, and the Raleigh Elite. The Silverbacks will play each of these teams home and away, completing eight games of their 16-game season. For the other eight games, the Silverbacks will play teams from outside their division.
At the end of the regular season, the top team in the South Atlantic Division will move on to the conference playoffs, and then the winner of the Southern Conference playoffs will move on to the final four.
With the addition of the PDL team, the Atlanta Silverbacks now have teams in four divisions of the United Soccer Leagues: men’s First Division, women’s W-League, men’s PDL, and boys and girls Super-Y.
For more information on the PDL team, tickets, or schedule, contact Jason Smith at Jason.Smith@atlantasilverbacks.com.