To All Involved with and Interested in the North County Battalion,
Let us begin by thanking you all for your tremendous support in 2016 and your patience over the past several weeks since our fall season ended. We’ve been hard at work finalizing two key, new strategic partnerships for 2017. At long last, we can now officially share the news of these partnerships.
Specifically, we are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with San Diego Surf Soccer Club and are taking our club to the United Soccer League’s (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) for the 2017 season with plans already in motion to move even further up the U.S. soccer hierarchy in subsequent years.
While we were tremendously pleased with our on and off-the-field outcomes in our inaugural spring and fall seasons in 2016, as you all know we have much bigger ambitions for our club and with the aid of Surf’s elite player and coaching talent pool, immaculate training facilities, and legendary track record of winning national championships and recruiting and developing the best of the best talent, we are poised to build substantially on the solid foundation we forged in our first year of existence. In the PDL, players like Eric Lopez and Esteban Reyes will be challenged by some of the country’s finest up-and-coming talent. The PDL has a 22-year history of helping high-caliber players grow into professionals. U.S. Men’s National Team members Sacha Kljestan, Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes and Geoff Cameron are among the many PDL alumni active today and we look forward to the day when we lay claim to our own National Team members.
More than 200 PDL alumni participated in the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season, while more than 350 former players took part in the 2016 United Soccer League campaign. Our goal at NC Battalion has always been to consistently attract and improve the best soccer talent from the San Diego Area and beyond and we are confident that our union with Surf and the USL’s PDL will help us continue to achieve that goal.
As NC Battalion Chairman and CFO Jason Gerlach recently said, “the PDL's ‘Path to Pro’ slogan says it all. By joining the USL’s PDL family and aligning with Surf, we are sending a very strong message to our current players and to all of the best youth players in San Diego County and beyond: if you want to play top level professional soccer, join our club, and let us help you achieve your goals. As a player on our team, you are going to get top-tier coaching and fitness training, ample opportunities to play in meaningful matches throughout the year in front of our rabid followers, and an ownership group that is committed to winning championships and doing everything in its power to have its players, coaches, staff members and supporters achieve their wildest professional soccer aspirations.” Crucially, Gerlach and Jason Barbato retain majority ownership of managing control of the club, and while our name and look may shift slightly in the coming months, the people behind the club are the same. The players, staff, and coaches that the NC Battalion faithful fell in love with will remain as the core of our organization as we begin our quest to bring a PDL championship to San Diego County in 2017.
Make no mistake about it; we are making these moves in search of glory. We want to be nothing less than San Diego’s premier soccer team and ultimately, we want to play at the highest possible professional level on behalf of our great community, be that in the USL or the MLS. By aligning with Surf, and joining the USL’s PDL, we have taken the next step forward and moved up the “path to pro” in honor of everyone in San Diego who wants to see the highest possible level of soccer here in our community as soon as possible. Finally, note that beyond our exciting new partnership with Surf and our move up to the USL’s PDL, we are working hard on other endeavors that will enhance our organization and the experience of our devoted fans. For instance, in honor of our successful inaugural year, we’ve partnered with the good people at Bay City Brewing to create “Bad Axe IPA,” a one-of-a-kind beer that will be available to all starting this week at Bay City and select soccer pubs around San Diego as we all celebrate the holiday season and prepare for NC Battalion’s second year of soccer in 2017.
Again, thank you to everyone who made 2016 such a successful debut for our club. We promise even better things to come in 2017 and look forward to sharing our continuing journey with all of you. Please check www.ncbattalion.com and our various social media channels for more details on the exciting new developments discussed in this letter and other NC Battalion news.