David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Five clubs, five questions for 2009: Seattle PDL

No local club is shrouded in more mystery right now than the Seattle Premier Development League (PDL) club set to debut in 2009. We learned about this new team when the United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced their 2009 PDL alignment. Along with the new club in Kitsap and the returning Tacoma Tide FC, the league threw the name of Seattle ('To be announced') into the Northwest Division.

Instantly the question became "who is starting this club?" Is it Seattle Wolves FC, who have just returned from the USL meetings with information about going 'pro' in 2010? Is it Seattle Sounders FC, who could use the club as a 'replacement' for a side in the just-closed MLS reserve league? Is it another group entirely?

Alas, we still don't know. However, I do have some hints that lead me to believe this new club will be run by Seattle Wolves FC. When asked about the new club, a person from the Sounders' side responded with "we've got enough to do building the parent club," while the Wolves said "No comment, but we'll have more to say on this very soon."

Five questions for Seattle PDL

1. Who owns you, and how will that affect your 2009 season?

If Seattle Wolves 'own' Seattle PDL, then it is a club destined to try for a higher league in the very near future. If Sounders FC 'own' Seattle PDL then it is a club destined to become a talented 'reserve side' for players to advance their craft and keep their edge.

2. Are you serious?

Will Seattle PDL be 'serious' about running a competitive club and trying to draw fan interest? Is that possible in Seattle at this level (USA 4th division)? Many years ago the USL Sounders had a 'Selects' side that played, and there was also the Seattle / Everett 'Bigfoot,' at basically the same level. The Sounders ended the Selects team when the finances became a drain. Not sure how/why the Bigfoot moved around and then folded.

If this new club is part of the Seattle Wolves, then it will be interesting to see how they juggle the commitment they've also made to play in the PCSL next summer.

Is it possible that this club will be *both* a Wolves club and a Sounders FC reserve side?

3. Will you be pro or amateur?

We are back to the ownership thing...or are we? It is possible that whomever owns and runs Seattle PDL the club could be 'pro' either way. The Sounders would want a pro side so they could slide players up and down from the parent roster. Seattle Wolves might also want to start pro in anticipation of 2010 and a leap to the USL-2.

4. Where will you get your players?

You'll need players, but you've got competition on all sides of Puget Sound. Kitsap Pumas are going to pay their players. Tacoma Tide FC will recruit college talent with amateur status. The PCSL Wolves will also have a roster of amateurs. If Seattle PDL goes 'pro' then that makes it all the tougher on Kitsap to sign players. If they go amateur, then Seattle college players might want to stay at home instead of fighting the traffic to Tacoma.

5. Will soccer fans warm-up to all of the possible rivalries?

Seattle PDL, you do know that you have a tremendous opportunity in 2009, don't you? You'll have rivals in Tacoma and Bremerton...but even more you'll suddenly be the 'placeholder' for the Emerald City in matches against the Vancouver Whitecaps (Residency) and Portland Timbers (U-23's). You'll be the local linchpin of "Cascadia Cup Jr." or something like that. Will that help you get some fans out to your games?

The mystery around Seattle PDL should start getting solved sometime in January. The PDL season kicks off May 1st.

Five clubs, five questions:
Kitsap Pumas
Tacoma Tide FC
Seattle Wolves FC (PCSL)

Next: Seattle Sounders FC

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