Semi-pro soccer team coming to Carson

The United Soccer Leagues will award a Premier Development League (PDL) team to Carson City starting in 2003, a top USL official said on Wednesday.

Steve Clamp, who runs the USL, said eight new PDL teams will be added next season and Carson City will be one of them.

Albany (N.Y.) Black Watch Highlanders, West Virginia Chaos, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Fever and Abbotsford (B.C., Canada) have already been awarded franchises. Clamp said the other four franchises will be announced when the USL holds its Annual Operations Meeting Nov. 7-9.

"It looks pretty good that Carson City will get one," Clamp said on Wednesday from his office in Tampa, Fla. "We will finalize everything next week when we have our meeting."

Randy Roser, one the major organizers in bringing a team to Carson, confirmed on Wednesday that a team is definitely coming.

The PDL is an amateur league that serves as the lowest level of the USL. Along with the PDL, the USL includes the A-League and D3 Pro League, essentially second and third division pro leagues after Major Soccer League, the highest level of professional soccer in the United States.

The Reno-based Northern Nevada Aces competed in the D3 League this past year but will join a new amateur league called the Men's Premier Soccer League next year. Most of that league will include former PDL or D3 teams that want to break away from the USL, including the Chico Rooks, who were a PDL team.

"Basically, it's going to be a glorified Sunday (men's) league," Clamp said. "It's going to be at a level way below the PDL. Those teams didn't agree with how we were doing things."

Paul Aigbogun, who was the Aces' head coach last year, will be the Carson team's head coach, Roser said. Aigbogun will attend the USL operations meeting next week. Roser said the tentative name for the team will be the 'Nevada Wanderers,' named after the English Premiership team Bolton Wanderers, which Aigbogun and some of his associates have ties with.

The team will play their home games at the Carson High soccer field and major renovations are in store before the 2003 season starts in the spring. Lights, more stands and field upgrades will be just some of the improvements, Roser said.

PDL teams can have up to 26 players, with three having to be U-19 players. Teams can have eight international players and can include former professional players who wish to reinstate their amateur status. Eight of the players can also be over 23-years-old. Roser said Aigbogun plans on putting several of the top high school players in Northern Nevada on the 26-man roster.

The PDL is the largest national developmental league in North America, with almost 50 teams in the United States and Canada. It has acted as a springboard for some of this country's most successful soccer players, like the Colorado Rapids' Pablo Mastroeni, a starter for the U.S. National Team in last summer's World Cup. Mastroeni played for the Tucson Amigos in the mid 90s before being drafted by the MLS' Miami Fusion out of North Carolina State.

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