SAINT LOUIS - Saint Louis FC announced today the acquisition of the Springfield Synergy FC franchise of the Premier Development League (PDL), which will be known as the Saint Louis FC U23 team. The new team will allow college players to continue their development during the summer in a professional environment. Saint Louis FC and St. Louis Scott Gallagher will leverage facilities, staff and overall club success to develop the PDL franchise into a sustainable, long term and highly successful operation. While the team will train at World Wide Technology Soccer Park, games will be held in Springfield, Missouri and Collinsville, Illinois for the 2016 season.
"Saint Louis FC and St. Louis Scott Gallagher are excited about incorporating the PDL into our business and soccer development models." said Patrick Barry, the Executive Director of SLSG and STLFC. "Though this was not in our plans for 2016 and we will have to work very quickly, we felt it was the right thing to do for all involved. Part of our mission is to positively impact our community and we feel that providing this opportunity for area college soccer players is a part of that overall mission."
Due to its positive relationship with the USL, which oversees the PDL, Saint Louis FC agreed to acquire the franchise in short order to enhance its soccer club and give the Springfield players a platform for the 2016 season while continuing to help grow the game domestically. Additionally, the Saint Louis FC and St. Louis Scott Gallagher organization is focused on player development. The PDL fits into the model and mission statement laid out by the club. The mission statement aims to build the best club in the country, a club that positively impacts the development of our players on and off the field and positively impacts our community.
"The PDL has been a great environment throughout the years for player development. As a club we will now have an opportunity to provide another level of play for players during the summer months." said Saint Louis FC General Manager Jeremy Alumbaugh. "It is a tough task to be up and running in eight days, but we are excited about the possibilities that this brings for the club. "
"We are pleased to welcome Saint Louis FC to the PDL through its acquisition of Springfield Synergy FC," PDL Director Todd Eason said. "We are always encouraged and excited by the prospects of a USL franchise seeing the long-term value developing players through the PDL, and I firmly believe this group will reap the benefits down the road."
The PDL features 67 teams within four conferences and 10 divisions throughout the United States and Canada. Four of the PDL's current members are owned and operated by a United Soccer League club.
The highest level of amateur soccer in North America, the PDL has a history dating back more than two decades that has helped top-level players rise to the professional ranks. Among the PDL's alumni are players such as U.S. Men's National Team members Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes and Geoff Cameron. More than 200 PDL alumni competed in the 2015 Major League Soccer season, with another group of league alumni set to begin their professional paths following the recent 2016 MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore, Md.
The PDL has provided a major development platform for future professional players, with 12 of the league's current membership being owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or holding a partnership with an MLS or USL club. Seventy percent of the players selected in the MLS SuperDraft over the past seven years are PDL alumni, while Homegrown Players such as Gyasi Zardes, Harry Shipp, Darwin Jones and Jay Chapman also competed in the league on their path to the professional ranks.
The PDL has received strong support from both Major League Soccer and the USL as it provides a proven pathway to the professional ranks for top college-aged players in North America.
Visit saintlouisfc.com for more information about Saint Louis FC and slsgsoccer.com for information regarding St. Louis Scott Gallagher.