United Soccer League franchise Nashville SC announced Tuesday that it has created Nashville SC U23, a Premier Development League amateur team that will play in 2017. This team will lay the foundation and prepare players for Nashville SC’s first professional soccer game in March 2018.
“Launching this amateur team in 2017 will allow us to build a pool of players to select for contracts for our 2018 professional season. Also, one of the questions we have heard most frequently from Nashville SC fans is whether they will have a team to support in 2017,” Nashville SC co-owner Chris Redhage said. “We’re excited to see Nashville cheer on its Nashville SC U23 squad in 2017 and for years to come.”
The highest level of amateur soccer in North America, the PDL has a 22-year history of helping top-level players rise to the professional ranks. The PDL has received strong support from both MLS and the USL as a route to the professional ranks for top college-age players in North America.
“We are excited to have another franchise owned and operated by a USL team,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “The PDL has provided a proven pathway to the pros for more than two decades, and the addition of Nashville SC U23 will continue to help spur the development of young, college-age players in Tennessee and the region as a whole.”
Nashville SC also announced that it has formed a partnership with the Tennessee State Soccer Association for player development. TSSA membership includes more than 51,000 registered players and more than 100 local member organizations across the state.
The new PDL team and the partnership with TSSA have helped Nashville SC create a player development pyramid that previously has not existed in Tennessee soccer.
“A PDL team funneling into a USL squad gives our best players more motivation to come back home and stay involved in the soccer community,” said Derek Greene, director of sponsorships and marketing for TSSA. “We have several great players across the state going to top-notch college programs across the country. Now they have a pipeline that leads to professional soccer in Tennessee.”
More details on the player development partnership will be made available in the coming months.
Nashville SC is Nashville’s professional soccer team, slated to begin play in the USL in 2018. For more information, including how to place your club membership deposit, check out NashvilleSC.com.