New York City FC continues to expand its youth affiliate program and is now teaming with Long Island Rough Riders, which will serve as the MLS side’s Premier Development League partner.
The PDL is owned and operated by the United Soccer Leagues and features 67 teams in the United States and Canada. The league has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top college players who want a high level of competition while maintaining their eligibility.
“This is another great step in building the development pathway for local players in the New York area,” said Claudio Reyna, New York City FC, Sporting Director. “Long Island Rough Riders are a very well respected club and already a part of the New York City family, so strengthening the partnership and having them become our PDL Affiliate is fantastic.”
According to Reyna, the affiliation will allow college-aged players the opportunity to play for the Rough Riders during their PDL season.
“Our coaching education will continue with the Rough Riders so that their team is working in our playing style and philosophy, and together we will provide excellent coaching to players looking to become full-time professionals and make take the next step in their career,” he said.
Approximately 70 percent of all MLS draftees have PDL experience and nearly 300 former PDL players competed during the 2015 USL season. It is considered the top-level amateur league in the U.S.
“Becoming an official PDL affiliate of NYCFC is a tremendous honor for our club,” said Flavio Ferri, Long Island Rough Riders general manager. “This affiliation will grant our staff and players unprecedented access to the resources of NYCFC. It also gives players just starting out a phenomenal platform to rise through the ranks and play at the highest levels in the U.S.”
“Our new affiliation with NYCFC is a very exciting development for our club and the members of the Long Island soccer community,” Long Island Rough Riders owner Peter Zaratin said. “We have always had the passion and the professionalism in our ranks, but we now have a legitimate connection for any player hoping to reach the top levels to achieve it right from their own backyard.”
The Rough Riders open their season against the Westchester Flames May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at MacArthur High School in Levittown, N.Y.