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WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: October 12, 2017

LANSING, Mich. — After four seasons in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), including a 2014 Midwest Region title, Lansing United will play in the Premier Development League (PDL) in 2018.  The Hoops will play their first game in the PDL in May, with the release of the 2018 schedule coming at a later date.

The PDL is a developmental league sponsored by the United Soccer League (USL) and participates in the fourth tier of the United States soccer pyramid.  The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world, with nearly 70 percent of all MLS selections since 2010 having PDL experience.

“We are honored to be joining the PDL for the 2018 season,” Lansing United President/CEO Jeremy Sampson said. “Joining the PDL is a positive step for Lansing United as we continue to evolve as a club now entering our fifth season. The opportunities for growth as a club and for our players as they aspire to play professionally are really exciting.”

“As the PDL is always striving to add high-powered ownership groups and top quality performers on and off the field, we are thrilled to have Lansing United join the league,” said PDL Director Todd Eason. “We are excited to add another home for talent in the Michigan area, and to provide Lansing with an opportunity to grow and improve as a franchise.”

The club also announced that Head Coach/GM Nate Miller will be returning to the sidelines for his third season in 2018. Miller has a 10-11-5 record in two seasons at the helm of the Hoops.

“Joining the PDL is an exceptionally positive, forward thinking step for the club,” Miller said. “It clearly aligns us even closer to the professional game. Being a part of the USL-PDL structure really opens us opportunities in many was and is an exciting time for us internally and for our supporters. Clearly, this will help us attract an even higher level of talent and will give us the opportunity to keep taking steps forward as we grow as a club.  The competition level will be very high and I’m excited to build and develop a really good team at Lansing.”

Lansing United will play in the Great Lakes Division of the Central Conference of the PDL.  The other members of the division and the 2018 schedule will be announced later.

For more than two decades, the PDL has served as a major development platform for high-caliber players looking to rise to the professional ranks. Currently, 12 PDL franchises, including Nashville SC U23, Sounders FC U23 and New York Red Bulls U23, are owned and operated by an MLS or USL club, or holding a partnership with an MLS or USL club.

Among the PDL alumni include 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris and 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges, as well as U.S. Men’s National Team members DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan, Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen, Steve Birnbaum and Geoff Cameron.