Tobacco Road FC Announced as PDL Club
Tobacco Road FC is set to join the PDL for the upcoming 2017 season as the club joins the Charlotte Eagles, Carolina Dynamo and Wilmington Hammerheads FC as franchises in North Carolina. Tobacco Road will play its home matches at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
PDL Soccer News: The Premier Development League has announced Tobacco Road FC, based in Durham, North Carolina, as an expansion club for the 2017 season.
“The Carolinas have many talented college-aged players with a desire to play the game at the professional level, and Tobacco Road FC will offer those players a high-quality platform for development,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “With a strong ownership group, Tobacco Road FC will fit right in alongside well-run PDL franchises, such as the Charlotte Eagles and Carolina Dynamo, and a Wilmington Hammerheads franchise that already has strong roots in the soccer landscape.”
Founded in 2013, Tobacco Road will play its home games at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
“Tobacco Road FC is extremely excited to join the Premier Development League as an expansion franchise for the 2017 season,” founding partners Seth Kaplan and Cedric Burke stated in a joint statement. “The PDL offers a competitive environment that is directly aligned with the short- and long-term goals of our club. We look forward to utilizing the platform afforded through the PDL to grow the game of soccer and develop partnerships that enhance our local community.”
Kaplan was born and raised in Chapel Hill, and was a standout player for Chapel Hill High School before launching his career in hotel management. In 2011, Kaplan returned to his hometown to raise his family. Currently the Director of Operations for the renowned The Carolina Inn, Kaplan re-established his passion for soccer and joined local adult leagues where he and Burke met and developed the vision for bringing Tobacco Road FC to the region.
Raised in Durham, Burke starred at Jordan High School prior to a his collegiate career at Duke University. Burke has had success in the local banking industry and currently serves as an Executive for Maryland-based lender Homeside Financial. He served as Tobacco Road FC’s captain for several years with his playing days now at an end. Burke remains passionate about leading a club committed to delivering the professional soccer experience in his hometown.
Durham is the state’s fourth-largest market and is known as the “Bull City,” stemming from the post-civil war popularity of the Bull Durham Tobacco Company. The city has transformed from its manufacturing and farming roots into “The City of Medicine” and has become a major focal point in the health care, pharmaceutical and technology industries. Durham is home to Duke University and North Carolina Central University, and serves as one of the vertices of the internationally acclaimed Research Triangle Park.
Photo Credit: United Soccer League