San Jose Earthquakes announce they will field team in USL PDL starting in 2014
The San Jose Earthquakes on Monday announced that they have purchased a team to compete in the USL's Premier Development League starting in 2014. The Quakes will become the fourth MLS club to establish a PDL squad, joining Chicago, Vancouver and Portland.
The Earthquakes’ squad will feature players who have competed for the club’s academy and other locally based talent, according to the MLS club. The PDL has more than 60 teams from the United States and Canada split amongst four conferences. The rosters are composed of amateur players in the U-23 age group.
“We are delighted to add the Earthquakes to the PDL,” USL president Tim Holt said in a statement. “The PDL has become a true proving ground for college-aged players in the United States and Canada, with MLS clubs making Homegrown Player signings of those who have come through their PDL clubs.
"We expect the Earthquakes will take advantage of similar opportunities in the near future as their academy players graduate into the U-23 ranks.”
The PDL is considered the fourth tier of the U.S. Soccer pyramid, behind MLS, the NASL and USL PRO. PDL teams also compete in the US Open Cup.
In addition to the MLS quartet that will field teams directly in the PDL, three other MLS clubs have affiliations with PDL clubs: Seattle (Sounders FC U-23), New England (Real Boston Rams) and Philadelphia (Reading United AC).