USL News Release
Thursday, September 8, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced today that the Palmetto FC Bantams have joined the PDL and will begin play in the 2012 season. The new club will be based in Greenwood, S.C.
“We are excited to welcome the Palmetto FC Bantams to the PDL,” said Jeff McRaney, senior director of the PDL. “With the amount of talent in the collegiate game and amongst the many top youth clubs in South Carolina, we’re looking forward to seeing the Bantams take on the PDL competition from throughout the region in 2012.”
Local business leader Mark Riddle, Lander University soccer coach Van Taylor, and Greenwood attorney Aaron Taylor have spearheaded the development of the franchise.
Palmetto FC will play a 16-game schedule between the months of May and July, and will play most of its eight home matches at Lander University’s soccer field in Greenwood, located in west central South Carolina. Riddle will be the team’s president, while coaches and other team officials have yet to be named.
The club chose the name Palmetto to draw support from a wider area of South Carolina, the Palmetto State. Palmetto FC has formed a partnership with Bradford City of England’s League Two and will share the same logo and team colors as Bradford City. The partnership includes the possibility of exhibition matches.
The top U23 men’s league in North America, the PDL featured 64 teams throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in 2011. The PDL provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.
There are currently nine PDL divisions in the United States and Canada, and the Palmetto FC Bantams would likely play in the South Atlantic Division, which features teams in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. Many of the players are likely to come from the college soccer hotbed of South Carolina.
The Bantams will have several South Carolina schools to draw from including strong smaller school programs like Lander, Erskine, Newberry, North Greenville, Anderson, USC Aiken, Francis Marion, Coker and Limestone, to bigger schools including Winthrop, USC Upstate, Presbyterian, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Charleston, the University of South Carolina and Clemson. The club’s first tryout is tentatively planned for December.