ORLANDO — The new EDP Florida Competitive Leagues program has announced eight clubs in the Central Florida area have committed to play in the inaugural season of the Orlando Metro League.

The league is one of three EDP Florida Metro Leagues being formed for competition to start in the fall. The other two planned Metro Leagues are in Tampa and in Miami.

The eight clubs are:

* Barcelona Soccer Academy

* FC Prime Brevard

* Hunter’s Creek SC

* Nona Soccer Academy

* PSL United SC

* South Orlando SC

* Treasure Coast United SC

* Winter Park FC

Other clubs that will be part of the EDP Orlando Metro League will be announced shortly.

EDP technical director Simon Collins said that what distinguishes the EDP Soccer leagues in Florida is that teams playing within this structure, such as the EDP Orlando Metro League, are part of a connected system of leagues. Teams have the opportunity to earn their way to the appropriate level of competition that best suits their abilities.

“Involvement in a league with like-minded clubs whose priority is player development can only be positive. Pairing that with an opportunity for players to access higher levels of competition within the US Youth Soccer Leagues Program gives clubs, teams and their players exciting opportunities,” Collins said in a statement. “Ensuring standards on and off the field will set our member clubs apart within their respective markets. We look forward to supporting and being part of their growth.”

Here are some reactions from the head of the various clubs:

“We are excited to be part of this new platform and for the opportunity to work with like-minded clubs to shape the future of youth soccer in Florida. We support the approach that EDP Soccer has taken in launching this platform and are eager to continue our collaborative efforts to bring a great product to market.”

Jose Luis Ramirez, sports director – Barcelona Soccer Academy

“We are excited about EDP coming into Florida. Their reputation as a top class league organizers in other markets precedes them and we believe there is a major need here. Being able to tell our families that we have options for their players to start in a local developmental league and grow to the national ranks without having to leave to another program will be a significant factor in keeping players in the club.”

Dan Tidmarsh, executive director – FC Prime Brevard

“Hunter’s Creek Soccer Club is excited to be one of the founding clubs in EDP Florida. We’re looking forward to having our players participate in a league that focuses on their development while playing alongside like-minded clubs looking to provide some of the highest-level soccer opportunities in the state.”

Mickey Briscoe, executive director – Hunter’s Creek SC

“We are looking forward to being part of this exciting new platform. We are in good company with other forward-thinking organizations who have made a commitment to this platform and have enjoyed the collaborative process of working with them, as well as with the team at EDP Soccer, to help shape this league into something that will best serve our membership.”

Fabio Silva, president – Nona Soccer Academy

“South Orlando Soccer Club is proud to partner with EDP and other Central Florida soccer clubs whose primary goal is player development for greatness on and off the field. The new league provides a pathway for our players and teams to reach a national platform within US Youth Soccer.”

Cris Whittaker, president – South Orlando SC

“We are pleased that EDP staff have established a permanent league option in Florida. When clubs have a say in league formatting and feel the league has their best interests in mind, it’s a winning formula. We are looking forward to it.”

Seth Duston, president -Treasure Coast United SC


Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.