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Changes Expected to Division Alignment, Regular Season Schedule at Clearwater, FL League Gathering

Annual League Meeting Awaits Laredo Heat SC Administration

Laredo, TX (Tuesday, December 11, 2012): It is hard to believe that the Laredo Heat franchise will be heading to its 10th United Soccer Leagues (USL) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Florida this coming week.

Back in the Fall of 2003, when the organization first attended a USL AGM, it would be hard pressed to imagine the type of success, both on and off the field the franchise would experience after that inaugural 2004 provisional season.

Four trips to the Premier Development League (PDL) Finals (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011), one league championship in 2007 and several division titles later, the Heat can look back and know that people in and around the soccer world, both at the state and national levels, know where Laredo, TX is on the map.

“My favorite story to tell about the evolution of Heat soccer actually goes back to my very first USL AGM in 2003 when I was introduced as the representative for a new franchise from Texas and then after the meeting, people asked me how close Laredo was to El Paso”, said Heat General Manager J.J. Vela.

“Needless to say, I had to tell them that we were actually in a different time zone to our future rivals and just a hop, skip and jump south of San Antonio just so they could find us on the Texas map. Since then, I think all the other teams in the league know where to find us”.

“Success on the pitch can be the reason why the Laredo Heat has become well known in soccer circles in this country; however, I am of the opinion that success off the field has also been very instrumental for our organizations recognitions over these past ten years as we have hosted teams from all over Texas, Fresno, CA, Westchester, NY, Detroit, MI, Bradenton, FL, Bremerton, WA, Greensboro, NC and Thunder Bay, Canada and each of those teams left the Gateway City with a very positive impression due to the professional manner in which they were treated”

Vela concluded, “Our owner, Shashi Vaswani, has from day one only wanted the best for our city and his commitment over the organization’s existence can be traced to that day in 2003 when the USL granted Laredo a franchise to provide competitive soccer in our area”.

The USL’s annual meeting brings together all the team executives from around the U.S. and Canada to discuss all and every pertinent matter from the previous season and more importantly, the expectations for the upcoming year.

For the Laredo Heat and the other members of the Mid-South Division and Southern Conference, it also brings additional discussion about new teams being added to the region and what teams will not be returning to compete in 2013.

In addition, the number of regular season games and the playoff format will also be discussed because many of the USL’s franchises, like the rest of the country, bottom line business expenses have to be looked at in detail in order that teams can sustain the grind of a regular season and be able to keep franchises afloat and return for many years to come.

The USL AGM will take place from Thursday, December 13th to Sunday, December 16, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa in Clearwater, FL. Scheduling for the 2013 Regular Season will take place during the last day of the meetings; however, the actual 2013 playing schedule will not be released by the league until early next year.

Additional News from the USL AGM

A few weeks ago, in preparation for the AGM, Laredo Heat General Manager J.J. Vela was announced by the USL as one of the four Finalists for the PDL Executive of the Year. Vela, along with Ian Campbell (Forest City London, Canada), Scott Zapko (Carolina Dynamo) and Dan Duggan (Michigan Bucks) will be representing their respective franchises during the USL Awards Ceremony scheduled for Friday evening, December 14th.

Also nominated for award consideration from the Mid-South Division are the Austin Aztex who have also been nominated for several awards including Rookie Franchise of the Year and Marketing Award in the PDL.

About the PDL

The top developmental men’s league in North America, the 2012 PDL featured 73 teams within four conferences throughout the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.