COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC announced on Friday it had entered a partnership with one of the biggest youth soccer organizations in Colorado, Pride Soccer Club, that will see the Colorado Pride Switchbacks U23 become the USL club’s official Premier Development League partner as it joins the PDL for the 2018 season.
The new club will compete in the Mountain Division of the top pre-professional league in North America and be led by Head Coach Diego Zaltron as it kicks off its inaugural season this May.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to add a PDL team to our existing youth club,” said Zaltron. “As the largest soccer organization in Colorado Springs with over 5,000 players and a partnership with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, the only USL team in the state, it is important for us to be able to offer our players a complete pathway to the pros. Our players now have a chance to go from recreational soccer all the way to professional soccer right here in Colorado Springs.”
Founded in 1994, Pride Soccer Club launched with 45 teams and 430 players and has since grown to encompass approximately 4,500 players across over 300 teams. It will now provide a platform for its top professional prospects to compete under the guidance of one of the USL Western Conference’s most consistent clubs of the past three seasons.
“I am very honored that Pride Soccer Club and the Switchbacks FC organization have trusted me to direct this new venture,” added Zaltron. “Our goal is to develop players and help them get to the next level. Bridging the gap for the Pride U18 and U19 players and the Switchbacks FC professional players will be one of our main objectives. Hopefully, within the next few years, we will see a player come all the way through the Pride youth ranks up to the USL club.”
Established through the intense effort of its four original founders – dedicated parents who saw the need for a high-quality organization to coordinate and supervise an ever-increasing number of youth players in Southern Colorado – Pride Soccer Club offers recreational, intermediate, junior academy and competitive programs. Beginning in 2016-17, Pride Soccer Club became a member of the U.S. Development Academy, offering teams at the U12, U13 and U14 Boys levels.
“From day one, this endeavor has been about the community within Colorado Springs,” said Joel Nash, the USL’s Director of Business Development. “American soccer needs more examples of selfless leaders using soccer for the greater good. I want to personally thank the relentless effort from Pride’s leadership, Diego and Candy, who in conjunction with Switchbacks FC leadership, have realized the overall goal of establishing a clear pathway from a youth player to a professional one within Colorado Springs. This team will grow aspiring youth soccer players as well as strengthen the growing Switchbacks FC fanbase.”