THE VILLAGES, Fla. – The Villages was on Friday awarded a franchise in the
PDL, the top level of amateur soccer in the United States and Canada. Founded
by Dr. Maen Hussein and Anderson DaSilva, the new club will unveil its name
and branding at the Lake Miona Recreational Center at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.
“We are very excited to bring a PDL franchise to The Villages, as we seek to
build a pathway for the top local talent in the area,” said Hussein. “As our youth
soccer environment has grown, the need for a higher level of competition for
those players looking to continue their development toward the professional
ranks became clear. The PDL will offer that, and also high-level competition
for local soccer fans as well.”
Since 2008, The Villages Soccer Club has provided an outlet for competitive
and recreational soccer to youth players in our community. The club has
steadily grown, and in 2015 it held its first annual tournament. The Villages
Cup drew over 700 players from all over the state.
In 2016, the addition of the PDL team to our club was a realization of a dream.
The new club will fit perfectly into our mission to promote the growth of, and
appreciation for, the game of soccer in an environment that promotes teamwork,
sportsmanship, and mutual respect.
“We are pleased to welcome The Villages to the PDL,” said league director
Todd Eason. “Anderson DaSilva has had notable success not only in putting
strong teams on the field in the past in the PDL, but has also helped players
move on to the professional ranks. We are pleased to have him and Maen
Hussein leading this new club.”
The highest level of amateur soccer in North America, the PDL has a history
dating back more than two decades that has helped top-level players rise to the
professional ranks. Among the PDL’s alumni are players such as U.S. Men’s
National Team members Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes and
Geoff Cameron. More than 200 PDL alumni competed in the 2015 Major
League Soccer season, with another group of league alumni set to begin their
professional paths next week at the MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore, Md.
The PDL has provided a major development platform for future professional
players, with 12 of the league’s current membership being owned and operated
by an MLS or USL club, or holding a partnership with an MLS or USL club. 70
percent of the players selected in the MLS SuperDraft over the past seven years
are PDL alumni, while Homegrown Players such as Gyasi Zardes, Harry Shipp,
Darwin Jones and Jay Chapman also competed in the league on their path to the
The PDL has received strong support from both Major League Soccer and the
USL as it provides a proven pathway to the professional ranks for top college-
aged players in North America.