TAMPA, Fla. — Santa Cruz Breakers FC will compete in the Premier Development League in 2018.

The California-based club will add an Under-23 team atop its U.S. Soccer Development Academy club to complete its player development pathway. It will play in the Southwest Division.

“The addition of Santa Cruz Breakers FC to the PDL’s Southwest Division is another big step forward for one of our deepest divisions,” PDL co-director Mike Panter said in a statement. “The Breakers Academy is one of the premier youth organizations in the country, and the creation of a PDL team atop such a productive system only expands the clubs ability to continue producing high-level players and future professionals.”

The Breakers Academy has a track record of developing professional-level talent. Included among Breakers Academy alumni are Sunderland and U.S. international midfielder Lynden Gooch, whose father, Paul, coaches with the Breakers Academy, and 2018 MLS SuperDraft selection and PDL alum Jordan Jones of Los Angeles FC.

“As an inaugural member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA), Santa Cruz Breakers Academy has spent the last 10 years focusing on developing players in our club in the DA system,” said Santa Cruz Breakers Academy Director of Coaching Paolo Carbone. “Today, we feel that the time is right to add another layer of development in our pyramid by expanding with a PDL team. Our goals are to have a presence at the U23 level and to help the most committed players in our area pursue their dream of playing at the professional level. With a PDL team, we will bridge the gap between the youth level and the professional level to provide a pathway beyond what currently exists.”