USL PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE (PDL)
The top U23 men’s amateur league in North America lives in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the development ground for elite players. The 2016 campaign features a 72-team format within ten divisions that comprise four conferences. The regular season will consist of 14 regular season matches, 7 home and 7 away. The schedule is augmented by participation in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and various exhibitions. Players have the ability to compete in the PDL throughout the summer months in a professionalized setting while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is the proving ground for players that aspire to reach the highest-levels of the game, while providing affordable family entertainment within their city.
NORTHERN VIRGINIA ROYALS CLUB HISTORY
Established in 1997, the Northern Virginia Royals began professional club play in what is now called the USL Pro Division. The Royals remained exclusively a professional team until 2005 when the team joined the larger PDL. With the PDL team serving as the top amateur level of a very broad youth structure, the Royals renewed their focus of providing the highest developmental opportunities for the players graduating from the Super Y-League teams. With the addition of the Royals Super 20 team, more opportunities are now available for players intent on preparing for professional soccer careers.
The Northern Virginia Royals were inducted into the USL Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.
From the inaugural season to 2007, the Royals had been led by Head Coach Silvino Gonzalo. Gonzola was succeded by John Pascarella, who coached the Royals for two seasons before accepted a coaching position with the Kansas City Wizards (MLS). Richie Burke took the reins following the departure of Tom Torres after a two year stint with the club. Burke served as assistant coach for DC United under Ray Hudson as well as coaching youth under the DC United Academy program.
Follwing the departure of Burke, Evergreen FC fully took root as an affiliate under West Ham and hired Ian Bishop to helm the squad. The 2017 season presents Royals and Evergreen alum Grady Renfrow as the head coach in the modern era of the team. With the focus securely on development, the Royals still promise to provide Northern Virginia the best in minor league soccer action.
Following a brief stint as the DC United U23s in 2015, the Royals transferred their operations and relocated to Loudon County, Virginia in 2016. The PDL organization plays under the Evergreen FC banner as the Evergreen Hammers and calls the scenic Evergreen Sportsplex as their new stadium home.
PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS THAT PLAYED IN THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA ROYALS PROGRAM
Bryan Namoff (DC United)
Troy Perkins (DC United)
Curt Onalfo (Head Coach of DC United and Kansas City Wizards, US National Olympic Team, DC United, San Jose Clash, LA Galaxy)
John Pascarella (Assistant Coach of Kansas City Wizards)
Tom Presthus (DC United)
AJ Wood (DC United)
Santino Quaranta (DC United, LA Galaxy)
Judah Cooks (DC United)
Mark Simpson (Assistant Coach of DC United, DC United)
2017 DIVISION ALIGNMENT
Evergreen FC will compete in the Mid Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the Premier Development League (PDL) in 2017. The Hammers are one of 72 teams that will compete in the PDL across the nation. The Mid Atlantic Division consists of these 7 teams:
Evergreen FC Hammers
FA Euro New York
Lehigh Valley United
New York Red Bulls U23
Ocean City Nor'Easters
Reading United AC
College Preparation: This high level of competitive play week in and week out in the summer months (May through last week in July) will give the player invaluable preparation for the college season.
Possible Pro Career: PDL is a direct feeder system to MLS and the USL First and Second Divisions. This is where the pro coaches look first. In the 2007 MLS Super and Supplemental Drafts, 66 former PDL participants were drafted.
Evergreen FC System: As a part of Evergreen FC, the player will be exposed to the complete soccer club from Super Y-Leagues to Super 20 League, through PDL and finally on to future professional careers.
Can College players play in the PDL and retain their college eligibility? Yes! The PDL is an amateur league affiliated with the United States Amateur Soccer Association. College players participating in the league sign amateur registration forms with PDL clubs.