Saturday will be "Soccer Night in Lakeland" as Tropics release PDL schedule
LAKELAND – Saturday will soon become “Soccer Night in Lakeland” and Polk County as the Lakeland Tropics, a first-year team in the USL's Premier Development League, has unveiled its 2017 schedule.
All seven home games will be Saturday dates at historic Bryant Stadium, part of a 14-game regular season schedule highlighted by home and away games against The Villages SC, the defending southeastern division champions, and home and away games against the Tampa Bay Rowdies Under 23 team, another first year entry in the PDL.
The team will open on the road May 11 at FC Miami, and the home opener will be against the Villages SC at 7:35 May 20. All seven home games are on Saturday, with 7:35 kickoffs.
The full schedule:
> Thursday, May 11, at FC Miami City, 6 p.m.
> Saturday, May 20, vs. The Villages SC, 7:35 p.m.
> Wednesday, May 24 @ Weston SC, 5 p.m.
> Saturday, May 27, Palm Beach Suns FC, 7:35 p.m.
> Saturday, June 3, vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies U23, 7:35 p.m.
> Saturday, June 10, vs. Weston FC, 7:35 p.m.
> Wednesday, June 14, at Tampa Bay Rowdies U23, 7:35 p.m.
> Saturday, June 17, at The Villages SC, 6 p.m.
> Wednesday, June 21, at South Florida Surf, TBD
> Saturday, June 24, vs. FC Miami City, 7:35 p.m.
> Wednesday, July 5, at Palm Beach Suns FC, TBD
> Saturday, July 8, IMG Academy Bradenton, 7:35 p.m.
> Tuesday, July 11, at SIMA Aguilas, TBD
> Saturday, July 14, vs. SIMA Aguilas, 7:35 p.m.
Season tickets for all seven home games are now on sale for just $35, and can be purchased by calling the Tropics office at 333-5353, or at the team's website www.lakelandtropics.com.
Lakeland will be part of the nine-team southeastern division, which also features first-year teams in the Rowdies and Aguilas. All nine-teams are Florida based, and include The Villages SC, Weston FC, Palm Beach Suns FC, FC Miami City, IMG Academy and the South Florida Surf.
The PDL is starting its 23rd season, and features 72-teams in 10 divisions from coast to coast. Along with the southeastern division, the mid-south division will make up the Southern Conference. The PDL features 14 teams affiliated with USL or Major League Soccer clubs. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world, with nearly 70 percent of all MLS selections since 2010 having PDL experience. The PDL provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions.