October 12, 2017 - United Soccer League (USL)
Michigan-based club expands PDL's Great Lakes presence
TAMPA, Fla - Lansing United expands the Premier Development League's Great Lakes presence as its second Michigan-based club ahead of the 2018 season.
Founded in November 2013, Lansing United is the third expansion team announced for 2018 and will compete in the Central Conference. They'll join the previously announced AHFC Royals and a yet-to-be-named Birmingham-based franchise as the league's newest members.
"As the PDL is always striving to add high-performing ownership groups and top-quality performers on and off the field, we are thrilled to have Lansing United join the league," said PDL Director Todd Eason. "We are excited to add another home for talent in the Michigan area and to provide Lansing with an opportunity to grow and improve as a club."
The newest PDL member will join a highly-competitive Central Conference that includes the 2017 PDL Championship Finalists Thunder Bay Chill, 2015 PDL Champions K-W United FC and the 2005 PDL Champions Des Moines Menace. Lansing United also becomes the second Michigan-based club in the PDL, joining the 2017 Great Lakes Division and three-time PDL Championship winners Michigan Bucks in the state.
"We are honored to be joining the PDL for the 2018 season," said Lansing United CEO and Team President Jeremy Sampson. "Joining the PDL is a positive step for Lansing United as we continue to evolve as a club now entering our fifth season in 2018. The opportunities for growth as a club and for our players as they aspire to play professionally are really exciting."
"Joining the PDL is an exceptionally positive, forward-thinking step for the club," said Head Coach Nate Miller. "It clearly aligns us even closer to the professional game. Being a part of the USL-PDL structure really opens up opportunities in many ways and is an exciting time for us internally and for our supporters."
"Clearly this will help us attract an even higher talent level and will give us the opportunity to keep taking steps forward as we grow as a club."
For more than two decades, the PDL has served as a major development platform for high-caliber players looking to rise to the professional ranks. Currently, 16 PDL franchises, including Nashville SC U23, Sounders FC U23 and New York Red Bulls U23, are owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or holding a partnership with an MLS or USL club.
Among the PDL alumni include 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris and 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges, as well as U.S. Men's National Team members DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan, Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen, Steve Birnbaum and Geoff Cameron.
To learn more about Lansing United, visit lanunited.com and follow the club on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced Division III league and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
Nearly 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 59 alums chosen in 2017. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges and U.S. Men's National Team members Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.