Want to be a Rover?

River City Rovers, the newly formed United Soccer League team for Kentuckiana, will be holding an open combine next week for interested players.

Rovers, who will play in the USL’s Premier Development League, will be made up of approximately 26 male players, ages 17-30, and will showcase the best and brightest local talent.

It also provides elite college players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their NCAA eligibility.

The PDL is seen as a shop window for Major League Soccer clubs looking to discover and identify aspiring pros.

Many of the players currently playing in the MLS began their careers there, while notable US internationals with PDL experience include Charlie Davies, Brad Guzan, Jonathan Spector, Clarence Goodson and Jay DeMerit.

The open combine will be held from January 7-9 and the registration fee is $95.

The weekend will include testing at Velocity, 11470 Bluegrass Parkway on Friday, January 7 (10 a.m.), and continues with sessions at Oldham County YMCA Indoor Sports Arena in Buckner on January 8 and 9 (starting at 2 p.m.).

All players should bring indoor and outdoor shoes. Two combine t-shirts will also be distributed the day of the tryouts.

Players can complete an online application at http://www.roverssoccer.com. The website is under construction, but registering online is active through January 5.

Muhamed Fazlagic, who will serve as head coach and technical director, said he is excited to be part of creating this opportunity for local players.

“Now they’ll be able to play at the highest level in front of their friends and family,” said the founder of United 1996.  “River City Rovers is certainly a new and positive chapter in Louisville’s soccer history.”

Unofficially, the PDL is considered to be the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid, behind the MLS, the USSF Division 2 and the USL Second Division.

It had 67 teams competing in four conferences — split into eight regional divisions across the US and Canada — in 2010. So far, three new franchises have been announced to participate in 2011 season.

The season comprises 16 regular season matches for each team — eight home and eight away — and runs from May to August.

Dale Helfrich, general manager of Oldham Thoroughbreds Soccer Club, has just appointed as operations manager of River City Rovers. For further information, you can contact him at 502-445-3482.

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