USL News Release
Thursday, April 7, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues is pleased to welcome LA Blues 23 to the Premier Development League for the 2011 season. The Blues are replacing the Hollywood United Hitmen, who were removed from the 2011 PDL schedule.
LA Blues 23 will compete as a professional team in 2011, operating as a reserve squad for the Los Angeles Blues of USL PRO. The setup is similar to that of the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS, who also operate a professional team in the PDL in addition to a team operating in a USSF-sanctioned pro league. LA Blues 23 has assumed the 2011 PDL schedule originally announced for Hollywood United, with minor adjustments. The Blues will play the majority of their schedule at Stadium by the Sea in Pacific Palisades.
“We have immediately improved the strength and quality of the already formidable PDL Southwest Division with the addition of LA Blues 23,” USL President Tim Holt said. “As they have demonstrated with the Pali Blues of the W-League and thus far with the Los Angeles Blues of USL PRO, the ownership and management of the Los Angeles Blues are dedicated to running a first-class operation and putting a winner on the field.”
LA Blues 23 will compete in the Western Conference’s Southwest Division, perennially one of the strongest divisions in the PDL. Among their regular season opponents, LA Blues 23 will face the 2009 PDL champion Ventura County Fusion, as well as the BYU Cougars, Fresno Fuego, Los Angeles Legends, Ogden Outlaws, Orange County Blue Star and Southern California Seahorses.
The operation of LA Blues 23 will be overseen by Vijay Dias, a former Indiana University player and experienced soccer administrator. Dias will be supported by the USL PRO team’s general manager, Alyse LaHue, and Charlie Naimo, vice president & head coach of the USL PRO Blues, as well as a nationally respected coach and player personnel executive at all levels of elite soccer in the U.S.
During the past seven W-League seasons, Naimo amassed an astounding 87-10-7 regular season coaching record with multiple teams, including three regular season championships and three W-League titles. In 2008, he led the Pali Blues to a perfect record in the W-League and the league championship.
"We are happy to be adding a pro PDL team to our organization,” Naimo said. “There were many tough decisions that were made as we put together the USL PRO side and with this addition we hope we can provide more opportunity while we strengthen our base of talent."
The unparalleled premier U23 men’s league in North America, the USL Premier Development League will feature 64 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada in 2011. The PDL provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility.
The top supplier of talent for professional soccer in North America, the PDL saw another large group of its alumni make the move into professional soccer recently with 37 of the 54 players selected in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft having previously played in the PDL. A remarkable eight of the first 10 selections in the draft had PDL experience.
LA Blues 23 2011 PDL Schedule (all times ET)
Friday, 4/29 @ Fresno 10 p.m.
Saturday, 5/7 @ Orange County 8 p.m.
Friday, 5/13 @ Ventura 10 p.m.
Saturday 5/21 vs. Southern California 10 p.m.
Saturday 5/28 vs. Los Angeles 10 p.m.
Thursday 6/2 vs. Ventura County 10 p.m.
Sunday 6/5 vs. Fresno 9 p.m.
Tuesday 6/7 vs. Orange County 10 p.m.
Saturday 6/11 @ Los Angeles 9 p.m.
Friday 6/17 vs. BYU 10 p.m.
Saturday 6/25 @ Southern California 10 p.m.
Saturday 7/2 vs. Ventura 4 p.m. (at Cal State Fullerton; triple-header with Pali Blues & Los Angeles Blues)
Friday 7/8 vs. Ogden 10 p.m.
Thursday 7/14 @ Fresno 10 p.m.
Thursday 7/21 @ BYU 9:30 p.m.
Saturday 7/23 @ Ogden 8 p.m.