TAMPA, Fla. – Weston FC becomes the second expansion franchise from Florida to join the Premier Development League ahead of the 2017 season. Joining the Lakeland Tropics as Florida-based expansion franchises set to compete beginning in 2017, Weston FC will play its home matches at Broward College Soccer Field in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
“As part of the U.S. Development Academy, Weston FC has aspirations to provide its players with top-tier opportunities to improve their game, and so we are thrilled to have them add another platform through the PDL,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “Like many of our franchises who have teams compete in the USDA – such as FC Golden State Force, FC Boston and the New York Red Bulls – Weston FC will provide college-aged and academy players a wonderful opportunity to strengthen their skill set in an exciting Southern Conference.”
Founded in 1998, Weston FC is led by President Steven Ziegler, who was instrumental in working with the City of Weston to develop Weston Regional Park, Weston FC’s training grounds. Weston FC is overseen by a board of directors, consisting of Ziegler, Treasurer Tony DeCastro, Vice President of PDL, Development Academy and ECNL Stephen Enriquez, VP of Premier Boys Ares Michaelides, VP of Premier Girls Doug Weston, VP of Club Operations Steve Lewis and VP of Fundraising David Sanderson.
“Our objective is to improve the pathway of our players to evolve towards professional soccer while enabling them to improve and better prepare themselves for their college fall season,” Weston FC Technical Director Victor Pastora said. “Joining the PDL is another testament of the club’s board of director’s commitment to improving our environment by joining a league that narrows the gap between academy and professional soccer. We are proud as a club to be a member of the PDL and look forward to the competition during the summer.”
Weston FC joins the Tropics, Myrtle Beach Mutiny, Nashville SC U23, Tobacco Road FC, Wilmington Hammerheads FC and a San Diego-based team as expansion franchises set to compete in next season. For more than two decades, the PDL has helped high-caliber players rise to the professional ranks. More than 550 PDL alumni participated in the 2016 Major League Soccer and United Soccer League regular seasons. Among the PDL alumni currently competing professionally include 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges, Sierra Leone National Team member Kei Kamara, Iran National Team member Steven Beitashour and U.S. Men’s National Team members Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin and Sacha Kljestan.
As a major developmental platform, the PDL currently has 12 franchises owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or holding a partnership with an MLS or USL club.