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

professional ranks.

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.