[DATEBOOK] The Premier Development League will have 64 teams when it kicks off its 2011 season the weekend of April 30-May 1.
Eight first-year teams have joined the PDL:
-- Akron Metro FC Summit Assault
-- Fredericksburg (Va.) Hotspur
-- Hamilton (Ont.) FC Rage
-- FC Jax Destroyers (Fla.)
-- North Sound SeaWolves (Wash.)
-- RGV Grandes (Texas)
-- River City Rovers (Ky.)
-- WSA Winnipeg
In addition, the Real Maryland Monarchs, who spent their three previous seasons in the USL Second Division, will move down to the amateur PDL.
The defending PDL champion Portland Timbers U23s, the first team in the PDL’s 15-year history to finish as undefeated champions, open their 2011 campaign on May 6 when they host the Victoria Highlanders.
Two U-23 Timbers -- Jake Gleeson and Freddie Braun -- have signed pro contracts with the MLS Timbers.
The 64 teams -- including eight in Canada and one in Bermuda -- will complete in four geographic conferences and nine divisions. The Eastern Conference features three divisions while the Southern, Central and Western Conferences feature two divisions each. PDL clubs will play 16-game schedules in 2011.
The regular season concludes on July 24.
(Click here for the 2011 schedule.)