US Elite Soccer Pathway
Upper 90 College clients have over the years been given the opportunity to both train with professional US soccer franchises, and also semi professional soccer franchises in the PDL and NPSL soccer leagues. During the summer months, the PDL and NPSL allow for our student athletes to be able to continue their development and play at a higher standard of play.
The PDL and NPSL leagues were specifically created to allow for top student athletes to develop their game against the best college soccer players from around the USA, though, also against older and former professional players and those amateur players looking at attracting a professional contract.
Given the size of the US soccer market, with many professional tiers of soccer (MLS, NASL, USL), there is a wide variety of opportunities in the US for college soccer players, top amateur and ex-professional players to be able to be seen by professional soccer franchises across the USA during the summer months in the USA.
Upper 90 College provides our US Elite Soccer Pathway service offering by allowing our clients the ability to play in the PDL and NPSL leagues, while opening the door for semi professional and professional players in local and regional markets the ability to be recruited by our staff and placed into the PDL and NPSL leagues, with further opportunities to have players potentially gain trial opportunities with professional franchises.
What is the PDL & NPSL
The PDL is a development league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues in the United States and Canada, forming part of the United States soccer league system. It is currently considered the top-level men's amateur soccer competition in the United States, although it has no official designation as such from US Soccer. The league has 76 teams competing in four conferences, split into ten regional divisions. Unofficially, it is considered to be the fourth tier of competition, behind Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League and the United Soccer League.
While not strictly a "professional" league in the sense that the majority of players do not receive payment, the PDL prides itself on its professionalism in terms of its organization and the way the league is run, and its dedication to developing young soccer players, preparing them for future careers in professional leagues in the United States and elsewhere. As PDL seasons take place during the summer months, the player pool is drawn mainly from elite NCAA college soccer and NAIA college soccer players seeking to continue playing high-level soccer during their summer break, which they can do while still maintaining their college eligibility.
However, in recent years, some PDL teams have been embracing at least partial professionalism through a new program called PDL-Pro, whereby teams can choose to employ players who are paid for their performances, but who still meet the age eligibility criteria. In addition, PDL squads often also include standout high school and junior club players, as well as former professionals seeking to continue competing at a high level, often having been forced to retire from top flight competition due to age or injury.
Increasingly, the PDL is seen as a 'shop window' for professional clubs looking to discover and identify aspiring professional players who may enter the MLS SuperDraft in future years. Many of the players currently playing in Major League Soccer and elsewhere began their careers in the PDL. The PDL, a part of the United Soccer Leagues – which also operates the Division II USL and Super Y League – has served as a major development platform for aspiring professional players since 1995. A total of 566 PDL alums have been selected in Major League SuperDrafts since 2000, while nearly 70 percent of MLS draftees since 2010 have had PDL experience.
The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is an American soccer league commonly recognized as being a fourth tier league though is has been given no official designation by US Soccer. The Premier Development League takes place during the summer months, and the player pool is drawn mainly from NCAA college soccer players seeking to continue playing high level soccer during their summer break, while still maintaining their college eligibility. The National Premier Soccer League is similar to the Premier Development League and also attracts top amateur talent from around the United States. NPSL does not have any age limits or restrictions, thus incorporating both college players and former professional players alike.
The recruiting process in no different from that of our stand alone College Placement Program. Albeit, the service will extend the age bracket to be able to encompass older players that are looking for placement into a professional environment. You can review our Placement Program and what the recruiting cycle and service entails here. We will also schedule training sessions (locally in Australia) that allow us to assess players that we feel will be a great fit for the pathway before commitment to our Placement Program. For players from overseas, we will have our team of coaches review the video with assessment provided before the athlete commits to the service.
Who is the service for?
- Current student athletes who are signed to the Upper 90 College APAC Placement Program (the placement of a student athlete into a PDL franchise is provided at an additional service value for each season the student athlete advises the requirement for placement into the PDL or NPSL franchise within our network).
- Student athletes who are considering a gap year post their high school completion, with the view of playing in an NPSL or PDL franchise, while being viewed and visiting college's (NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA) within Upper 90 College APAC's network of over 360 men's and women's college soccer programs.
- Current university students who may be looking to transfer over to the USA university and are playing at a strong level in their country of origin. Transfer students are highly sought after in the US market collegiately, including semi professional franchises.
- Semi professional or professional players who are looking for an opportunity for a season (2-3 months) within an NPSL or PDL franchsie with the opportunity for the potential of further training opportunities with professional franchises.