Timbers to add premier development team in 2009

PORTLAND, Ore.The Portland Timbers announced today that the club will add a new development team to the organization – the Portland Timbers U-23s, a team that will begin competition in the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (PDL) in 2009.
The Timbers U-23s will be an amateur team comprised of standout players from collegiate and youth levels around the Northwest. The new Timbers U-23s team will serve as a development program for the Timbers first team, which competes in the USL First Division.
“The Timbers U-23s team is a great addition to our franchise,” said Timbers General Manager Gavin Wilkinson. “By adding a PDL team, the Timbers have the opportunity to reach deeper into the community and continue to make a significant impact in the soccer community through local player development. Not only will this program be great for our local colleges and their players, but the first team should reap the rewards in years to come.”
Projected to join the Northwest Division of the PDL’s Western Conference, the Timbers U-23s will compete against other clubs from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, including the Cascade Surge, based in Salem, Ore., Yakima Reds and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency. The PDL is North America’s top amateur league for players 23 years of age and younger and serves as a ground for elite and up-and-coming players.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Portland Timbers into the PDL,” said PDL Director of Operations Lee Cohen. “Their commitment is an example of USL’s overall mission of creating multiple layers of player development under a unified umbrella in communities across North America. The Timbers have an outstanding fan base that we expect to immediately make the Timbers U-23s squad one of the most fervently supported sides in the entire league.” 
The Timbers U-23s will likely play a 16-match, regular-season schedule beginning in April/May 2009. They will play their home matches at PGE Park as well as other venues around the Portland area. A coaching staff and schedule for the Timbers U-23s will be announced at a later date.
For more information about the Timbers U-23s and their inaugural PDL season, visit www.portlandtimbers.com. For more information about the PDL, visit www.uslsoccer.com.
Season tickets for the Timbers’ 2009 USL First Division season are now available by contacting the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555. For more information on a variety of season-ticket packages, including the new Thursday Night ticket plan, visit www.portlandtimbers.com.
The Premier Development League is the top men’s amateur league in North America for players 23 years of age and younger, and serves as a development ground for young elite players. Under the umbrella of United Soccer Leagues, the 2008 PDL campaign featured 67 teams divided into four conferences. The PDL schedule is augmented by participation in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and various exhibitions. Players have the ability to compete in the PDL throughout the summer months in a professional setting while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is the training ground for players who aspire to reach the highest levels of the game, while providing affordable family entertainment within their community.