Ocean City to open their 2010 PDL campaign in new-look Mid-Atlantic Division

PDL alignment unveiled for the upcoming season

The Ocean City PDL team, who recently dropped their Barons nickname, will compete in their 14th season in the United Soccer Leagues in 2010. For the eighth year in a row, they will play in the Premier Development League’s (PDL) Eastern Conference, but this time in a new-look Mid-Atlantic Division, after playing in the Northeast Division last season. The Mid-Atlantic Division will feature a league-high 10 teams, and only two of those teams competed in Ocean City’s division last year.

Returning this year are in-state rivals, Newark Ironbound Express and the New Jersey Rangers. Also joining Ocean City, Rangers and Express are a fourth New Jersey-based team, an un-named expansion club from Central Jersey. The most interesting new club are the Bermuda Hogges, who were a professional club in the USL Second Division for the last three seasons. The territory of Bermuda is located about 1,100 miles northeast of Miami and creates an interesting road trip for Ocean City. Another familar addition is long-time rival and 2009 PDL regular season champion, Reading United AC, who recently changed their team name after 14 years under the name Reading Rage.

Here are the list of teams competing in the PDL Eastern Conference in 2010:

Eastern Conference
Mid Atlantic Division:
Bermuda Hogges, Carolina Dynamo, Central Jersey, Hampton Roads Piranhas, Newark Ironbound Express, New Jersey Rangers, Northern Virginia Royals, Ocean City PDL, Reading United, West Virginia Chaos
Northeast Division: Albany (NY), Brooklyn Knights, Long Island Rough Riders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Ottawa Fury, MPS Portland Phoenix, Vermont Voltage, Western Mass Pioneers, Westchester Flames

Mid-Atlantic team profiles:

Bermuda Hogges: Founded in 2007 as a professional side in the USL Second Division and struggled in their three seasons in the league. They failed to make the playoffs all three years.
 
Carolina Dynamo: One of the great franchises in USL history, with 16 seasons under their belt. Last year, they finished with an impressive 10-4-2 record and lost in the opening round of the PDL playoffs to the Cary Clarets. The Dynamo have only missed the playoffs three times in 16 seasons competing in the professional and PDL levels of the USL.

Central Jersey: An unnamed expansion team that will begin play in 2010.

Hampton Roads Piranhas: The Piranhas will enter their fifth season in the PDL after beginning in 2006 as the Virginia Beach Submariners. They were division champions in their first two years, but their last two years, they have fallen short of the postseason.

Newark Ironbound Express: The Express have had success in their first two seasons in the PDL, including a second place Northeast Division finish and a playoff appearance in their inaugural season in 2008. Last year, they struggled, finishing in fifth place in the division with a 6-8-2 record.

New Jersey Rangers: The Rangers entered the PDL the same year as the Ironbound Express, but have not enjoyed the same success. Last year, they finished in last place with a 2-12-2 record.
 
Northern Virginia Royals: The Royals began as a professional club (USL-2) in 1998 but have found little success over the years. They joined the PDL in 2006 and have not made the postseason since 1999. Last year, they finished with a 2-10-4 record. One of their notable former players is goalkeeper Troy Perkins who spent time with DC United of Major League Soccer and is playing professionally in Europe.

Reading United AC: The Reading Rage, a long-time rival of Ocean City, will enter the 2010 season with a new name and a new logo. Reading and Ocean City have been playing each other since they were professional teams in the late 90s and the early 2000s. Last year, Reading won their second straight division championship and won their first PDL regular season title. Their 13-1-2 earned them 41 points, the most of any team in the league.  

West Virginia Chaos: The PDL side from West Virginia has yet to qualify for the playoffs since they began play in 2003. The Chaos finished in fifth place in the Northeast Division last year with a 5-8-3 mark.

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See below for the full press release by the
United Soccer Leagues:

United Soccer Leagues announced the official alignment for the upcoming 2010 USL Premier Development League season, unveiling the conferences and divisions for the 68-team league.2010 PDL Alignment

Central Conference
Great Lakes Division:
Chicago Fire, Cincinnati Kings, Cleveland Internationals, Dayton Dutch Lions, Forest City London, Indiana Invaders, Kalamazoo Outrage, Michigan Bucks, Toronto Lynx
Heartland Division: Des Moines Menace, Kansas City Brass, Real Colorado Foxes, Rochester (MN), Springfield Demize, St Louis Lions, Thunder Bay Chill

Eastern Conference
Mid Atlantic Division: Bermuda Hogges, Carolina Dynamo, Central Jersey, Hampton Roads Piranhas, Ironbound Express, New Jersey Rangers, Northern Virginia Royals, Ocean City PDL, Reading United, West Virginia Chaos
Northeast Division: Albany (NY), Brooklyn Knights, Long Island Rough Riders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Ottawa Fury, MPS Portland Phoenix, Vermont Voltage, Western Mass Pioneers, Westchester Flames

Southern Conference
Mid South Division: DFW Tornados, El Paso Patriots, Houston Leones, Laredo Heat, Rio Grande Valley Bravos, West Texas United Sockers
Southeast Division: Atlanta Blackhawks, Baton Rouge Capitals, Central Florida Kraze, Fort Lauderdale, IMG Bradenton Academics, Mississippi Brilla, Nashville Metros, New Orleans Jesters, Panama City Pirates

Western Conference
Northwest Division: Abbotsford Mariners, Kitsap Pumas, Portland Timbers U23, Spokane Spiders, Tacoma Tide, Vancouver Whitecaps Residency, Victoria Highlanders, Washington Crossfire, Yakima Reds
Southwest Division: BYU Cougars, Fresno Fuego, Hollywood United Hitmen, Lancaster Rattlers, Los Angeles Legends, Ogden Outlaws, Orange County Blue Star, Southern California Seahorses, Ventura County Fusion



The conference and division alignments remain the same as 2009 with four conferences each containing two divisions of at least six teams. The clubs also remained relatively in place from their 2009 alignment with the exception of the Eastern Conference, which saw the three New Jersey clubs switch to the Mid Atlantic Division with four more northerly-based franchises entering the Northeast Division.

The four new Northeast Division teams are part of a group of nine teams that will make their PDL debut this season, three of whom are returning USL clubs. Former PDL club Vermont Voltage, returning from a year off due to stadium renovations, is one of trio along with former USL Second Division sides Bermuda Hogges and Western Mass Pioneers.

New franchises in the conference are led by the MPS Portland Phoenix and two new expansion sides in Albany, NY and Central Jersey. The three other first-year teams will be the previously announced Dayton Dutch Lions and Fort Lauderdale franchises along with a team returning in Rochester, MN.

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