PDL 2008 season details announced

Alignment and competition structure set for next season

TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced Thursday details for the 2008 USL Premier Development League season, which will see an increase in divisions and playoff teams in the upcoming campaign. Among the details finalized recently at the 2007 Annual General Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Tampa, FL were the alignment, schedule and playoff details for the 2008 competition.
 
The PDL will consist of 67 teams in 2008, playing in 10 divisions that comprise the four conferences. New to the Central Conference will be the Midwest Division, while the New England Division will join the fray in Eastern Conference.

Expansion teams that have been formally announced to date are the Kalamazoo Outrage, Houston Leones, Panama City Pirates, New Jersey Rangers, Austin Stampede and Vancouver Whitecaps U23s. Moving to the PDL from the USL Second Division are the New Hampshire Phantoms and Cincinnati Kings. Another club change among the mix is that Abbotsford has adopted its youth club nickname Mariners. An additional expansion team is yet to be officially announced.

The league will also play a 16-game season for the fifth straight campaign with games based primarily upon their divisional alignment. The season will open April 26 and conclude July 20.

The playoffs will begin almost immediately with the expanded Central Conference format in which seven teams will move onto the postseason, marking the first conference equivalent playoff system featuring more than four participants for the first time since the divisional playoffs in 1998. The four Conference Championship Tournaments will be held July 25-27 with the PDL Semifinals August 1-2 and the PDL Championship Saturday, August 9. All playoff hosts are determined via a bid process.
PDL Alignments and Playoff Structure by Conference

Central Conference:
Great Lakes Division:
Cincinnati Kings, Cleveland Internationals, Michigan Bucks, Toronto Lynx, West Virginia Chaos

Heartland Division:
Colorado Rapids U23, Des Moines Menace, Kansas City Brass, Springfield Demize, St Louis Lions, Thunder Bay Chill

Midwest Division:
Chicago Fire Premier, Fort Wayne Fever, Indiana Invaders, Kalamazoo Outrage, West Michigan Chaos

Central Conference Playoffs:
The regular season conference champion receives a bye to the conference tournament semifinals. The remaining top two teams in each division will play a divisional round midweek to determine the three other qualifiers for the conference tournament. The number one seed will play the lowest seeded non-divisional opponent in the conference tournament semifinals. The winner of the conference championship advances to the PDL Semifinals.

Eastern Conference
Mid Atlantic Division:
Fredericksburg Gunners, Hampton Roads Piranhas, Northern Virginia Royals, Reading Rage, Richmond Kickers Future, Virginia Legacy

New England Division:
Cape Cod Crusaders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Rhode Island Stingrays, Ottawa Fury, Vermont Voltage

Northeast Division:
Brooklyn Knights, Long Island Rough Riders, New Jersey Rangers, Newark (TBA), Ocean City Barons, Westchester Flames

Eastern Conference Playoffs:
The three division champions and the top second-place club (wild card) advance to the conference championship tournament. The number one seed will play the lowest seeded non-divisional opponent in the conference tournament semifinals. The winner of the conference championship advances to the PDL Semifinals.

Southern Conference
Mid South Division:
Austin Stampede, Baton Rouge Capitals, DFW Tornados, El Paso Patriots, Houston Leones, Laredo Heat, Mississippi Brilla, New Orleans Shell Shockers

Southeast Division:
Atlanta Silverbacks U23s, Bradenton Academics, Carolina Dynamo, Cary RailHawks U23s, Central Florida Kraze, Nashville Metros, Palm Beach Pumas, Panama City Pirates

Southern Conference Playoffs:
The top two teams in each division advance to the conference championship tournament. The division champions face the second place team from the opposite division in the conference semifinals. The winner of the conference championship advances to the PDL Semifinals.

Western Conference
Northwest Division:
Abbotsford Mariners, BYU Cougars, Cascade Surge, Ogden Outlaws, Spokane Spiders, Tacoma Tide, Vancouver Whitecaps U23s, Yakima Reds

Southwest Division:
Bakersfield Brigade, Fresno Fuego, Lancaster Rattlers, Los Angeles Storm, Orange County Blue Star, San Fernando Valley Quakes, San Francisco Seals, San Jose Frogs, Southern California Seahorses, Ventura County Fusion

Western Conference Playoffs:
The top two teams in each division advance to the conference championship tournament. The division champions face the second place team from the opposite division in the conference semifinals. The winner of the conference championship advances to the PDL Semifinals.

USL Public Relations - Gerald Barnhart / Jason Minnick - Tampa, FL - 813.963.3909 - fax: 813.963.3807

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