The Colorado Rapids U-23 team is participating in the Premier Develop League (PDL) for the second year after a 5-5-4 finish last season. Eleven players are returning from 2017’s squad, including Indiana forward Griffin Dorsey, Wake Forest defender Sam Raben, and three players from DU: forward Andre Shinyashiki, midfielder Moshe Perez, and defender Scott DeVoss. These five are also on the 2018 PDL Players to Watch List.
And yes, Will Pulisic is Christian Pulisic’s cousin.
The PDL consists of 74 clubs, including 18 teams that are owned by a professional club. The players are all elite college level, and the season consists of 14 games between May and July. This system allows college players to sharpen their skills and play at a higher level while still maintaining their collegiate eligibility. PDL teams can also compete in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The U-23 program is already paying off for the players and for the club—Kortne Ford, Ricardo Perez, and 2017 Super Draft first-round pick Sam Hamilton were all part of the inaugural summer 2016 squad. The most recent homegrown signing, Sam Vines, participated in the club’s first PDL season last year.
“Our last three homegrown signing and our 2017 first-round draft pick all had their final tests in the program,” said Rapids U-23 general manager Brian Crookham. “The PDL is an excellent league with a track record of producing professional players and we are excited to return in 2018 with a roster that we are very proud of.”
Their season kicks off on Friday, May 18 against the other Colorado team, the Colorado Pride Switchbacks. They’re playing on Field 20 (the Rapids training pitch) at DSGP at 5:30 p.m.
You can find the entire Rapids U-23 roster on the PDL website.