TAMPA, Fla. – The 2017 USL-Premier Development League Winter Summit kicked off with the Executive Committee Meeting on December 7th, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.
More than 120 franchise executives attended meetings on ticket sales and activation, video and streaming production, digital sponsorship best practices, game day activation and much more over the three days duration of the conference. Corpus Christi FC was represented by club president Dr Kingsley Okonkwo and Head Coach Sammy Giraldo.
The annual Winter Summit brings together executives from the 30+ USL clubs and 70+ PDL clubs for an unparalleled opportunity to share knowledge and industry trends. For the first time ever, the USL combined the Operations & Sales Summit with the Winter Summit making the event the pinnacle of networking.
Speaking at the event was USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis, President Jake Edwards and other guest speakers. Papadakis and Edwards delivered the State of the League address to open proceedings in earnest on Friday.
“The Winter Summit offered a wonderful opportunity for us to meet with the USL-PDL leadership, ownership groups and executives from across the soccer industry,” said CCFC President Dr Kingsley Okonkwo. “We are looking forward to a productive season; CCFC will continue to grow, both on and off the field, as we build a strong and sustainable soccer club for our community.”
The new PDL Golden Scarf Awards Program presented by Ruffneck Scarves took place on Saturday December 9, 2017. They honored the PDL franchises that exceled in creativity, promotion and marketing during the 2017 PDL season. The program gives clubs opportunities to share best practices and earn additional recognition for outstanding effort.
“The PDL Winter Conference was an overall great experience and highlighted the dedication that the USL is putting into creating a clear pathway to professional levels. The introduction of Division 3 and the continued improvement of the USL highlight the commitment to create even more opportunities for our PDL athletes” says Corpus Christi FC Head Coach Sammy Giraldo.
The 2017 PDL regular season had 72 teams compete in four conferences across the United States and Canada. The Charlotte Eagles won their first PDL title in August, defeating the Thunder Bay Chill, 2-1, in Matthews, North Carolina.
For 23 years, the PDL has served as a major development platform for players in North America. More than 550 PDL alums took part in the 2017 Major League Soccer and United Soccer League regular seasons. Among the PDL alumni include 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia and U.S. Men’s National Team members Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan and Darlington Nagbe.
Sixteen PDL franchises, including Nashville SC U23, Orange County SC U23, New York Red Bulls U23 and OKC Energy U23, are owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or hold a partnership with an MLS or USL club.