12/13/2016 4:00 PM
For its ninth season, West Texas’ premier soccer team will have a new look and feel. Midland-Odessa FC announced today that the club will play the 2017 season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). With the move out of the Premier Development League (PDL), the club will be called Midland-Odessa FC for the 2017 season, and will revert back to the name of Midland-Odessa Sockers FC during the 2018 season.
For the past eight seasons, Sockers FC has participated in the PDL. Last season, the Sockers won the PDL Southern Conference, consisting of 14 teams from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Florida. The club’s first conference championship resulted in a PDL semifinals berth in Pontiac, MI. The Sockers’ season ended in Michigan in a semifinals loss to the eventual PDL Champion Michigan Bucks.
“We had a great experience in the PDL, and wish that league the best going forward,” said Jeff VonHolle, Midland-Odessa FC Assistant General Manager and Director of Soccer Operations. “We had some success there, advancing to the playoffs in our inaugural season of 2009, and again both in 2015 and 2016. We would like to thank the PDL for giving us the initial opportunity to showcase the sport of soccer in the Permian Basin.”
Over the past eight seasons, Sockers FC has annually been one of the top 10 teams in attendance in the 67-team PDL.
“The chance to play in 2017 in the NPSL was too good to pass up, considering that the NPSL has many teams located in Texas as compared to the lack of teams in Texas that the PDL has had in the past couple of years. Additionally, we believe that the cooperative platform the NPSL offers makes it the best place for our success as a team moving forward,” VonHolle said.
During the 2016 season, the NPSL featured 11 teams in the South Central Conference, with six of those from the state of Texas. “We think the number of NPSL teams in the conference and the number of teams in Texas will be at least as high in 2017 as it was in 2016 ,” VonHolle concluded. Last season, the NPSL operated with 85 teams across the country.
“We are extremely honored to have a team like Midland-Odessa FC as part of our league,” NPSL Chairman Joe Barone commented. “They have experienced a great deal of success over the past eight years and we are looking forward to seeing them continue that tradi-tion here in the NPSL. Our fans and supporters should be very excited about having this club as part of a dynamic conference like the South Central.”
US Soccer designates the NPSL as the fourth tier of soccer in the United States, on the same level as the PDL. This tier is the highest level of amateur soccer in the country.
Details regarding the first season for Midland-Odessa FC in the NPSL, including coaching information, the schedule, and tryout information will be released in the near future.