The Derby City Rovers have announced their 2017 PDL side will be guided by an experienced group of coaches consisting largely of members of their full-time Youth Academy staff. Heading the group will be the club's owner and technical director, Nathan Pitcock. Pitcock, who is a US Soccer A License coach, was the associate head coach for the Rovers PDL in 2012 & 2013. He currently serves as the technical director and oversees the Youth Academy operations while coaching the U17 and U19 boys. He will be joined by fellow Youth Academy coaches Lwandiso "Ace" Gonya, and Charlie Pait. Gonya, who was an assistant coach with the PDL last year, is a full-time member of the Youth Academy staff, coaching the U15 and U16 boys. He played for the Rovers PDL team in their initial season in 2011, dazzling fans with his audacious skills and clever touches for 5 seasons before hanging up his boots. Charlie Pait, goalkeeper coach for last season's PDL team, works with the youngest age groups within the Youth Academy. Joe Adams, also an assistant with last year's team, worked with the Youth Academy and ran the Reserves program before recently electing to pursue coaching opportunities in his family's home country of Japan. Robbe Tarver is the one member of this year's staff not from within the Youth Academy ranks, however the current Centre College Men's Assistant Coach has been a fan-favorite for the last 4 years on the Rovers PDL team.
"This is an exciting time for the Derby City Rovers," reflected Pitcock. "We're taking another massive step towards our vision for this club. This year's staff represents the integration of the Youth Academy and the PDL into a single, cohesive club, with a clearly defined pathway for player development and a consistent philosophy and vision of the game. They have considerable experience within the PDL and know the workings of this league very well. Certainly they know the club ethos as well and understand what it means to play Swashbuckling Futbol."
Pitcock continued, "Our model for developing players is to employ a 'team of coaches' rather than 'coaches of teams.' This is especially appropriate for the PDL where players are working to hone their craft and get to the next level. To accomplish that they'll need to learn the nuances of their position, and with what we have set up, they'll have coaches who are able to be laser-focused on a particular aspect of the game. We think this is going to be a huge benefit to the players and we're really excited about the experience we'll be able to provide them this season."
The Rovers PDL players will begin coming together at the end of this month as they prepare for their US Open Cup match against Tartan Devils Oak Avalon on May 10th, at Woehrle Athletic Complex. The PDL opener will follow shortly after as the Rovers host the West Virginia Chaos on May 13th.
The Premier Development League (PDL) is the proven leader in North American soccer’s evolving tiered structure, featuring 72 franchises in four conferences through the US and Canada. This includes 16 clubs that are owned and operated by a professional club or that hold a partnership with a professional club. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world, with nearly 70 percent of all MLS draft selections since 2010 having PDL experience. The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, 7 home and 7 away. The league provides elite young players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while still maintaining their collegiate eligibility.
The Derby City Rovers were founded in 2011, beginning play in the PDL that summer. In the fall of 2012, the Rovers launched their Youth Academy with the goal of grooming local players from the grassroots level all the way to the professional ranks. The clubs motto of Swashbuckling Futbol celebrates skill and creativity and rouses its players to compete with passion rather than simply to achieve a result.
Serge Gomis vs KW United (2016)