USL News Release
Thursday, November 17, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced today that Texas Dutch Lions FC will join the PDL for the 2012 season and will operate a team in the W-League starting in 2013. The club is an affiliate partner of FC Twente, a former winner of the Dutch Premier League and KNVB Cup, and the Dutch Lions FC, who operate teams in USL PRO and the W-League as well as a youth academy in Dayton, Ohio. It is also the intent of the organization to acquire a USL PRO team to begin competition as early as the 2013 season.
“We expect the Texas Dutch Lions will prove to be a model organization for USL” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “By establishing both PDL and W-League teams, the Texas Dutch Lions will give every youth soccer player in North Houston something to aspire to by offering an opportunity to play at the next level.”
The club intends to develop top-level PDL and W-League teams while providing youth players from the North Houston communities of The Woodlands and Conroe with the opportunity to develop in a professional environment.
The Texas Dutch Lions will also operate the Dutch Lions FC youth development program in Texas, based on the Dutch youth development philosophy promoted by FC Twente. The FC Twente youth academy was voted best academy in Holland in 2007 and 2008, while the professional club captured the Dutch Premier League title in 2010 and the KNVB Cup in 2011.
“We are very pleased to launch a PDL team in our area next season, and a women’s league team in 2013,” said Matty Kremer, president of the Texas Dutch Lions FC. “Since April we have been working with a local soccer organization to build a healthy youth club. Our philosophy is to educate and train our youth program to aspire to join the future of our USL teams.”
“It's a special moment for our club and already a historical moment that this news is out. We look forward to the first game in 2012 and we believe that the Texas Dutch Lions FC brings something extra to soccer in the U.S.,” said Cor van Hoeven, Technical Director of the Texas Dutch Lions FC. “The health of a club is developed from the parents, players, trainers, and financial commitments of a USL club.”
The Texas Dutch Lions PDL team will play a 16-game schedule between the months of May-August. 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 in 2011 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, including 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong of Sporting Kansas City, who previously played for Reading United AC.
The first and longest-standing women’s league in North America, the W-League is USL’s highest level of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada. The 2011 USL W-League campaign featured 27 teams in three regional conferences playing 10-14 regular season matches. The league is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America.