The Ocean City Nor'easters became the latest Premier Development League franchise to partner with a professional club on Wednesday, revealing a deal with the United Soccer League's Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
"We are thrilled and equally excited to have the opportunity to work closely with the Hounds. We felt this partnership was the right time, the right place and most importantly, the right organization,” Ocean City Sporting Director Tim Oswald said in a release. “We have been very impressed with Coach Brandt's philosophies and vision for the club and his aspirations to push the envelope in his short time with Pittsburgh. I have no doubt that he will grow the club and its brand to new heights.
“This partnership exemplifies the Path-to-Pro model of the PDL, and we are proud to provide our players and staff with an expanded umbrella for development.”
Now, 19 PDL franchises are owned and operated by, or hold a partnership with, a North American professional club.
The partnership between the Nor'easters and Riverhounds is expected to deliver improvements in player identification while also establishing an expanded player-scouting network between the clubs. The deal includes collaboration between the staffs of both clubs in training and also the potential for Ocean City prospects to trial with the Hounds throughout the summer.
The Nor'easters have helepd numerous talented players make the jump to the professional level, including six players who have played for the Riverhounds. Keasel Broome, John Manga and Chevaughn Walsh – who earned the PDL MVP and PDL Golden Boot in 2016 – are all Nor'easters alumni currently competing for the USL club.
"I am personally really excited to do this partnership deal with Ocean City,” Riverhounds Head Coach Dave Brandt said. “It's a club I've been aware of and familiar with for quite awhile, and they have a fantastic record and reputation both as a winning organization, and an organization who are serious about developing and working with top players and advancing their careers. Clearly one of the top PDL organizations in the country, and we are delighted to align with them."