Monday, May 15, 2017
The Sounders U23 open the 2017 PDL season hosting Portland and Calgary
The Sounders U23 2017 PDL season kicks off this Friday May 19th at Bonney Lake high school versus the Portland Timbers U23 team at 7:30pm. With a quick turnaround, the young guns in green will face the defending NW Division and Western Conference Champion, Calgary Foothills, on Sunday, May 21st at Sunset Stadium in Sumner at 2pm. Opening the weekend against perennial powers will be a test for the new look Sounders U23.
The Portland Timbers U23 team boasts a great history in both winning games and developing players. Formed in 2008, the Timbers U23 team rattled off 16 straight wins in 2010 to claim the PDL National Championship under then head coach, Jim Rilatt. From that point, the Timbers U23 have helped place players throughout the professional leagues in the United States with Jake Gleason starting as the current Timbers first goalkeeper, and Fatai Alashe, Erik Hurtado, Mark Sherrod, and Erik Miller all plying their trade in Major League Soccer.
With a move to Salem, Oregon in a new affiliate structure, the team will be coached by Aaron Lewis in 2017. The Corban College head coach has a history with this team working for the club from 2010-2013. Local standouts Rey Ortiz and Benji Michel from the 2017 WCC Champion Portland Pilots will suit up along with players coming in from Lewis’ network across the country. The top rivalry in Major League Soccer never disappoints at the U23 level and the 2017 addition appears ready for another eventful series.
Calgary Foothills took the PDL by storm in 2016 winning the PDL NW Division title as they edged the Sounders U23 in the final game of the regular season. Calgary then dispatched the Sounders U23 team in the PDL playoffs on their way to the 2016 Western Conference Championship and a place in the PDL National Final game. The Michigan Bucks won the final leaving Calgary with a determination to get back to that game in 2017. Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon has brought back Dominic Russo, Kyle Jones, and Dylan Powley for familiarity and he has revamped a roster to again compete in the tough PDL NW Division. The PDL NW Division has won the PDL Western Conference Championship for 7 years running and shows zero signs of slowing down. Calgary opened the 2017 PDL campaign with two definitive wins over newcomer TSS Rovers to start the year at 2-0.
The Sounders U23 will open the 2017 season with many new faces having had seven former Sounders U23 players selected in the 2017 MLS Super Draft. As with each season, the Sounders U23 work to move players on to the higher levels of the game. Joining the 2017 edition are Will Bagrou, Conner Antley, and Airrion Blackstock from Mercer University along with returners in Sounders FC homegrowns Paul Christensen, Chase Hanson, and Matt Reinikka. The roster is littered with new faces and these players will look to work in the hardened NW Division as they chase the dream of professional soccer. The Sounders U23 will look to get back to winning hardware in 2017. The 2012 and 2015 Western Conference Champions look to get on track early with games versus Portland and Calgary this weekend. Come check out the future of the game.
Sounders U23 tickets and information can be found at www.soundersu23.com.
The top developmental men’s league in North American, the PDL features over 70 teams within four conferences across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean divided into 10 regional divisions. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world. For more on the PDL, visit www.uslpdl.com. Follow the PDL on Twitter at @USLPDL.
Sounders U23/Sounders Women
The Sounders U23 and Sounders Women teams are owned and operated by owners Lane Smith, Cliff McElroy, and Mike Jennings.
The Sounders U23 play in the Northwest Division of the Premier Development League (PDL) and the Sounders Women play in the WPSL. Featuring current college age amateur players with former international and professional stars, both the PDL and the WPSL provide elite amateurs the opportunity to compete while maintaining their eligibility as college student-athletes. Both the PDL and the WPSL are recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans throughout North America. The Sounders U23 team is the direct PDL affiliate to the Sounders FC first team and USL S2 team.
Sounders U23/Sounders Women VP/GM: Darren Sawatzky (Darrens@SoundersU23.com)