TAMPA, Fla. – Ahead of this year’s Premier Development League season, consisting of 74 teams across 11 divisions, the league has added Discoveries SC as its first new member club for the 2019 season. The South Carolina-based club will launch its PDL team for the league’s 25th anniversary season next year.
“While looking forward to the upcoming 2018 season, we are thrilled to reveal our first new member club for 2019,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “Discoveries SC is a fantastic organization, which serves a much-needed role in developing thousands of young players in the Carolinas. The addition of a PDL team atop the strong foundation of the youth club has been a model of success for a number of PDL clubs, and will be for Discoveries SC as well.”
Discoveries Soccer Club was founded in 1986 as the Rock Hill Area Soccer Club. The initial purpose of the club was to give high school age players a venue to play competitive soccer in the offseason. During the 1990s, the club expanded to several teams and added a development program. The club secured the Winthrop University Soccer Complex as a practice and playing facility. To heighten the geographic scope of the club, the name was changed in 1999 to Discoveries Soccer Club. Discoveries continues to grow, serving players ages 5-18 with Early Development Program, Youth Development Program, Junior Academy and Select Programs, never forgetting its mission statement.
“We look forward to providing our community with a program that we can all be proud of,” said Dave Carton, Discoveries SC Executive Director. “Connecting this program with the rest of the players at DSC and its surrounding footprint will be an important part of how we structure the program. We want to provide our academy and select players with positive footballing role models that they can look up to and come out to support at our home games. We hope to have a successful team that competes with the established programs and supplements the ongoing soccer scene in the South Charlotte, Rock Hill and Ft. Mill areas.”
Discoveries SC becomes the third PDL club based in South Carolina, joining the SC United Bantams and Myrtle Beach Mutiny, and the seventh in the Carolinas as a whole, alongside the 2017 PDL Champions Charlotte Eagles, the Carolina Dynamo, Tobacco Road FC and North Carolina FC U23.
While still enjoying a great relationship with Winthrop University, Discoveries SC are fortunate to call Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill the club’s home field and have additional space from Comporium Athletic Park in Ft. Mill. With Discoveries’ partnership with the City of Rock Hill and Fort Mill, as well as Clover and Lake Wylie, the club is able to provide training to recreation coaches and free clinics to close to 2,000 recreation players. The club strives to provide opportunities to coaches and players in York, Chester and Lancaster Counties, as well as the South Charlotte area.
“To kick off our 2019 expansion at this point in the year shows the diligence and focus that Discoveries will bring to the league and provides to its membership,” said Joel Nash, the USL’s Director of Business Development. “As an elite youth club expanding their developmental pyramid, while also providing their local community a premier entertainment destination, Discoveries continues the trend of youth organizations turning to the PDL to provide a highly-competitive first team to complete the pathway between the youth and professional ranks.”
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the new USL Division III and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
More than 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 66 alums chosen in 2018. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.