The Houston Dynamo continued to strengthen the club’s development pipeline on Monday when the Clutch Entertainment Group announced that the Brazos Valley will have a franchise competing in the Premier Development League for the upcoming 2017 season.
Brazos Valley will be an affiliate of the Dynamo, the first time an affiliated team will be in the area in over 60 years. The team will have a multi-year agreement with the Dynamo. Houston will have a hybrid affiliation meaning they will be responsible for selecting players and coaching staff. The hybrid affiliation is the first of its kind in the PDL. Clutch Entertainment Group, which owns the Brazos Valley Bombers, will handle the day-to-day operations of the club.
"We're excited to work with an established organization like the Brazos Valley Bombers and to have this opportunity to expand our brand and presence in the Bryan-College Station community," said Dynamo Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer David Tagliarino. "This is a fantastic opportunity to develop the game of soccer in a very passionate community. We saw that support today with the warm welcome from fans, business leaders and representatives from local government. Logistically, we are very close to Houston and that gives us the opportunity to expand our presence for both the Dynamo and the Dash and build that connection with our organization."
The head coach for the inaugural season will be James Clarkson. Clarkson has been with the Dynamo for 10 years as the Academy Director and oversaw the creation and development of that program. He played professionally in New Zealand for Manawatu AFC and also played non-league soccer in England. Nine of his Academy players have signed professionally with the first team and three of his players are currently on the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros roster.
“"I'm very honored and this is a terrific opportunity for myself to continue to work with our players in our system," Clarkson said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the Dynamo as it fits really well in the development pyramid that we are developing. This gives us a unique and extra platform for our college players. Now we have the academy, this PDL partnership, the RGV FC toros and the first team. All of the players that are in our system have opportunities to continue their development and from here - on to the USL level and then the first team."
The Premier Development League was founded in 1995 and features 67 teams in four conferences and has teams in both the United States and Canada. According to the PDL website, 70 percent of players drafted into the MLS have played in the PDL. The PDL consist mainly of elite level college players and 85 percent of rosters consist of players who have played college soccer in North America.
The team name will be decided on by a fan vote online. The contest will start Tuesday and will be located on the team website, www.bvsoccer2017.com.
The Brazos Valley will play their home games at Nutrabolt Stadium, home of the Brazos Valley Bombers. The city approved $1.86 million of join effort renovations which will make the field a multi-sport facility.
Brazos Valley will be a part of the Southern Conference and will compete in the Mid-South Division. Last year the Mid-South Division was comprised of five teams and the conference consisted of 12 teams.
The home opener is on June 5th and the team will have 14 regular season games and one friendly match. They will play eight home games and seven road games.