United Soccer Leagues announced today that the Hamilton FC Rage have joined the Premier Development League and will begin play in the 2011 season. The club will operate both PDL and W-League teams, with the existing Hamilton Avalanche of the W-League also being re-branded as the Hamilton FC Rage.
“I am extremely honored and privileged to be associated with the new ownership group,” Hamilton Lady Avalanche founding owner Valdi Greco said. “This group has worked extremely hard over the past few months in bringing the Avalanche to a different level by expanding on the men’s side. The combined new franchise, Hamilton FC, will be something to be proud of.”
The PDL Rage will be coached by Brett Mosen, who brings more than 25 years of professional coaching experience to Hamilton FC. The team will play a 16-game schedule between the months of May-August at Brian Timmis Field. The club also unveiled its new website, which can be accessed at www.hamiltonfc.com.
“We’re pleased that the Hamilton FC ownership has recognized the benefits of providing a Premier Development League team to showcase the local men’s talent, just as they have the past five years with their W-League team,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “They’ve given every youth soccer player in the district something to aspire to by offering an opportunity to play at the next level.”
The premier U23 men’s league in North America, the USL Premier Development League will feature 64 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada in 2011. The PDL provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility.
“The level of play offered in the PDL is outstanding and I am looking forward to coaching at that level again,” Mosen said. “We intend to provide an exciting style of play and offer a professional environment to the talented players who will join Hamilton FC. In addition to player development, we will provide support to the Hamilton and District Soccer Association and the local clubs through top level coaching development initiatives.”
Hamilton FC will develop several natural rivalries in Ontario as it challenges FC London, the Ottawa Fury, the Toronto Lynx and the Thunder Bay Chill (2010 PDL North American Finalist and 2008 Champions). Other Canadian PDL franchises include the Vancouver Whitecaps, Abbotsford Mariners and Victoria Highlanders from British Columbia and recently announced WSA Winnipeg in Manitoba.
“We are delighted to welcome Hamilton FC to the Premier Development League, and knowing Brett Mosen’s track record in the United States and in Canada this will certainly be a franchise that contributes to the exciting level of play the PDL offers,” USL President Tim Holt said. “I have no doubt that Hamilton FC will immediately become a strong organization, both on and off the field, and will help set the bar high for other PDL teams.”
The top supplier of talent for professional soccer in North America, the PDL saw another large group of its alumni make the move into professional soccer recently with 37 of the 54 players selected in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft having previously played in the PDL. A remarkable eight of the first 10 selections in the draft had PDL experience.