United Soccer Leagues announced Wednesday the 2009 Premier Development League season will begin May 1 with three opening night matches -- the Bakersfield Brigade at the Ventura County Fusion, the Fresno Fuego at the San Fernando Valley Quakes, and the expansion Victoria Highlanders at the Spokane Spiders.
The defending league champion Thunder Bay Chill will begin defense of their crown May 29 at the Real Colorado Cougars.
Each PDL team will play a 16-game schedule in 2009 with the first four games for all US-based PDL teams serving as qualifying matches for the 2009 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament.
The regular season ends July 19 with the playoffs beginning the following weekend with the return of the Division Championship round July 24-26. 12 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with the second and third seeded teams in each division playing against each other with the winner playing the top seeded team.
The eight division champions will move on to the PDL Elite Eight Weekend July 31-August 2, where the quarterfinals and semifinals will be held.
Semifinal winners will meet in the PDL Championship August 8 on Fox Soccer Channel.
For a complete 2009 PDL schedule, visit www.uslsoccer.com.