MIAMI (July 19, 2012) - FIU senior defenders Anthony Hobbs and Joseph Dawkins and sophomore keeper Rodney Greiling have been keeping busy over the summer by playing in the United Soccer Leagues' Professional Development League. The PDL is collegiate soccer's equivalent to the Cape Cod League in summer baseball and the top developmental soccer league in the country.
Hobbs, a native of New Zealand, plays for the Portland Timbers U-23's and has logged 1,293 minutes in 16 games over the summer. His team will square off against the Ventura County Fusion on Saturday, July 21, in the Western Conference Semifinals in Ventura, Calif. Hobbs is currently a member of the New Zealand U-20 National Team and was on the short list for a spot on the "Oly Whites" roster at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Check out a recent interview with Hobbs by PortlandTimbers.com by clicking HERE.
"Being up in Portland with the Timbers has been an amazing experience," Hobbs said. "I felt Portland would be a great environment to play in because it is affiliated with an MLS club, it provides amazing facilities, great coaching, and a great team made up of the best college players from around the country. We had a reasonably successful year that continues on Saturday in the Western Conference playoffs versus the 2009 National Champion Ventura County Fusion. We defeated the current national champions, Kitsap Pumas, in the last game, which gives us a lot of confidence going into our next game. Obviously, our goal is to the win the national championship.
The experience has been great for me and my development as player. Playing all summer in the toughest PDL conference has been great for my game and has given me an idea on what some other areas of the country are like in terms of training and style of play. Also, being in an MLS environment allowed me to see what it's like to be a pro and that is my ultimate goal. After my college career, MLS is the next level and this experience has given me an insight into what needs to be done to get there."
Dawkins, a fellow countryman of Hobbs, is a defender and a team captain on the expansion Ocala Stampede who will host the Southern Conference Championships. Dawkins has started all 16 contests for the Stampede and leads the team with 1,434 minutes played, good enough to place him in the top 10 in the league. He leads his first-place team in the playoffs against the Austin Aztex on Friday, July 20, in Ocala, Fla. Heading into the playoffs, the Stampede have the best record in the Southern Conference at 11-3-2 and are ranked No. 10 nationally for the PDL and NASL leagues. They will enjoy home-field advantage in the playoffs, a remarkable feat for a first-year team. Fans can tune into the Ocala Stampede playoff matches by clicking HERE.
"It's been a great experience captaining a successful team in the PDL," Dawkins said. "The Ocala Stampede has been fantastic on and off the field and the level of competition has really helped me develop. As a team, we have found our best form heading into the playoffs. I look forward to continuing this success into my final collegiate season at FIU."
Greiling, a native of Kentwood, Wash., has gained valuable experience during the summer on the playoff-bound Sounders FC U-23's. In his freshman campaign at FIU, Greiling notched two shutouts and was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week, the first time a Panther has won the award since 2008. His team will square off against FC Tucson on Saturday, July 21, in Ventura, Calif., with the chance of meeting Hobbs' Timbers in the Western Conference Championship on Sunday, July 22.
"You only get out of it what you put into it, and it's what you put into it when no one's looking that defines you as player," Greiling said. "The results people see are only 10 percent of the 110 percent of effort that U-23 PDL players put in during the summer. Being that this is a developmental program, the work is really put in at practice."
Fans can catch Hobbs, Dawkins, Greiling and the rest of the 2012 FIU men's soccer team in action as the Panthers kick off the season on Friday, Aug. 24, at 7:00 p.m. against Bryant University at FIU Soccer Stadium on the Modesto Madique Campus.
For ticket information to FIU home matches, call the FIU Ticket Office at 305-FIU-GAME or log onto www.FIUSports.com. Fans can follow @FIUMensSoccer on Twitter and find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FIUMensSoccer.
About USL: USL has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (Super Y-League/Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (PDL/W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO/MISL). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.
About PDL: The top developmental men's league in North America, the PDL features 73 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and 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. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 18 different sports. Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelors, masters and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls nearly 48,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.
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