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Jersey Boca Gets Squad
November 28, 2002

Feature article in the Ocean County Observer on Boca’s PDL Franchise – Published November 28, 2002.

Jersey Boca gets squad
Published in the Ocean County Observer 11/28/02

Youth Soccer Staff report

The Board of Directors of Jersey Shore Boca has announced the club has been awarded a Premier Development League franchise from the United Soccer Leagues and will begin play next season.

The PDL is one of five leagues under the umbrella of the USL. The USL consists of two professional leagues (A-League and D-3 Pro League), men’s amateur league (PDL), women’s open league (W-League) and the elite youth Super Y-League.

During the 2002 PDL season, 47 teams competed in eight divisions within four conferences throughout the United States and Canada. Designed to help develop players for professional careers, the PDL allows elite high school and college players to compete in a pro-like environment without losing their college eligibility. The PDL was also granted Olympic Development Program status by the United States Soccer Federation in 2001.

The PDL is the only national men’s under-23 amateur league in the country. Rosters can carry up to 26 players, including up to eight players over the age of 23. Rosters must also include at least three players who are under the age of 19.

Teams also have the opportunity to compete against teams from Major League Soccer, the A-League and the D3 Pro League on an annual basis in exhibition games and in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

As the nation’s top development league for professional prospects, the Premier Development League has been a hotbed for success stories over the past few years.

During the 2000 season, the Mid-Michigan Bucks and two-time PDL champion Chicago Sockers knocked off Major League Soccer’s top two clubs at the time to advance to the third round of the US Open Cup, grabbing headlines across the nation.

The PDL has also left its mark in the collegiate ranks. In the 2002 NCAA Division I Tournament which kicked off last week, 247 players have played in the Premier Development League over the last five seasons. Of the 48 schools in the tournament, 45 feature current or former PDL players. The eight seeded schools in the tournament have a total of 55 players from the PDL, including UCLA, which has the second highest total in the tournament at 15.

Indiana has 17 players in the tournament with PDL experience, including five-year PDL player Ryan Mack, a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, which honors the nation’s best collegiate soccer player. His teammate and fellow Hermann Trophy finalist Pat Noonan also played the last three years in the PDL.

Under the terms of the franchise agreement with the USL, Boca will start competition with a provisional 12-game schedule that begins in April and ends in July. The agreement also gives Boca the exclusive USL territorial rights for Ocean County and portions of Monmouth and Burlington counties.

The Jersey Shore Boca PDL side will compete in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Boca will play its home matches at Ocean County College and will schedule its PDL and Super Y-League games connected to each other in order to create a Shore Soccer Weekend. Boca has been a member of the USL’s elite Super Y-League since 2001.

Jersey Shore Boca has been a fixture in the soccer community since 1978 and is one of the most respected soccer clubs in New Jersey. The club will celebrate its 25-year anniversary in 2003. The club is based out of Toms River (Ocean County) and programs include youth level teams from under-11 to under-19, an under-23 team and a men’s open team.

Boca alumni include several former National and Olympic Team members as well as numerous collegiate Division I, II and III players, coaches and former high school standouts.

from the Ocean County Observer

Published on November 28, 2002