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Heat Register 1st Player for 2014

Heat Register 1st Player for 2014

Laredo lines up Lara to return to midfield

Heat Bring Back Familiar Face

Lara returns to defend Laredo

LAREDO, Texas – With less than 34 days until their Premier Development League regular season kickoff, the Laredo Heat SC have registered their first player of 2014. Laredoan Francisco Lara, a LBJ High alumnus and 2013 graduate of Southern Connecticut State, returns as a defensive-minded midfielder.

Lara has patrolled the team’s defensive third for six years, helping lead the 10-year-old franchise to a PDL Final in 2011 and qualification into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup over the last three years.

He nodded home an all-important netfinder against the eventual PDL-champion Austin Aztex last July at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex, chiseling his reputation as a set-piece threat as well as box-to-box defender. The dual-footed defender was an All-Northeast-10 honoree and National Soccer Coaches Association of America College Division Scholar All-East Region honoree.

The 5-foot-11-inch Lara featured in 63 contests for the Owls with four goals scored – including a career-high three in 2011 – and one game-winning tally. He helped with four assists in his four-year career from 2009-12, registering 39 shots. With Lara on the teamsheet, the Owls compiled a 44-22-8 record.

The 23-year-old featured in the United States Under-20 Team as it visited Laredo in June 2008. He played alongside fellow LBJ alumnus and former Heat and Houston Dynamo (Major League Soccer) forward Felix Garcia and current U.S. national teamer and Stoke City (Barclays Premier League) forward Brek Shea. That U.S. U-20 team battled Mexico in the South Texas bordertown.

In 2013, Laredo went 8-1-2 (Win-Loss-Draw) to finish second in the Mid-South with 28 points from 14 matches. It scored 30 goals and allowed only 13. The Heat advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup, falling in penalty kicks to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League. The Heat fell in the PDL Southern Conference Championship semifinal. The Aztex eliminated them, 2-0, after the Heat advanced past the Ocala Stampede, 2-0.

The Heat will continue filling out their roster per PDL requirements over the next month in preparation for the upcoming U.S. Open Cup – to begin on May 13-14 – with the location and time to be announced once teams from around the country qualify for the open allocations offered by U.S. Soccer.

The PDL regular season opener will see Laredo host the Houston Dutch Lions at the TAMIU Soccer Complex on May 17 at 8 p.m. Last season, the Dutch Lions and the Heat played twice, opening the season with a 2-2 draw in The Woodlands. In their second match, the Heat beat the Dutch Lions 5-0.

The Heat will have a favorable opening to their season as four of their first five divisional games will be at home.

About the PDL

The top developmental men’s league in North America, the 2014 PDL featured 64 teams within four conferences throughout the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, seven home and seven 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.

For additional information on the tryouts, sponsorship opportunities, tickets, the Heat Club Card and the Laredo Heat Soccer Club, please contact the Heat Front Office at (956) 723 – 4700(956) 723 – 4700; visit our website at www.laredoheatsc.com , LIKE us on Facebook www.facebook.com/laredoheatsoccer or Follow Us on Twitter @LaredoHeatSC.