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Published on 12/04/2008 7:05 am   (Last Updated 12/04/2008 7:16 am)
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Thunder Adds Premier Development League Team in Rochester, Minnesota
Minnesota Thunder Press Release
Rochester, Minn. (December 04, 2008) -- The Minnesota Thunder announced today that it has purchased the franchise rights to a Premier Development Team named the Rochester Thunder that will begin play in Rochester, Minnesota in the 2009 season. The team is collaboration between the Minnesota Thunder professional soccer club based in the Twin Cities, which will hold majority ownership, and Rochester-area businessman Dan Penz, who will hold a minority ownership stake. The Rochester Youth Soccer Association will provide promotional support and assist with the team in other capacities, as able, but is not in any way financially responsible for the team.

The Rochester Thunder will begin play in May 2009. The season will consist of 16 league games, with eight being played at home and eight being played away. The Rochester Thunder is also planning to host two to three exhibition games during the season including one against its parent team, the Minnesota Thunder. The team plans to play its home games at the new field at Rochester Community and Technical College.

The Rochester Thunder will play in the Premier Development League’s Central Conference, in the Heartland Division. Division foes will include 2008 PDL Champions Thunder Bay Chill and 2005 PDL Champions Des Moines Menace, as well as teams from St. Louis and Kansas City.

The team’s head coach will be Neil Cassidy and the front office will be run by Todd Penz, Director of PDL Operations. The Rochester Thunder office will be located at 1530 Greenview Drive, Suite 208, Rochester, MN 55902. The phone number is 507-993-4513 and e-mail inquiries can be sent to . The team website will be up and running in the very near future.

Single-game tickets will cost $7 for adults and $4 for youth (4-21) and seniors (65+). Children 3 and under will be admitted for free. In addition, the Thunder will offer RYSA youth a special “Gold Card” for a cost of $20. This card will get RYSA youth into all the Rochester Thunder’s regular season home games, as well as the regular season home games for the Minnesota Thunder and Minnesota Lightning in the Twin Cities. “Gold Card” members will also enjoy other benefits which will be explained in more detail at a later date. Season tickets can be purchased immediately by calling the Rochester Thunder office at 507-993-4513 or by emailing Todd Penz at

About the PDL

The top U23 men’s amateur league in North America lives in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the development ground for elite players. Teams will play a 16 league game schedule with half at home and half on the road. The schedule is augmented by participation in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and various exhibitions. Players have the ability to compete in the PDL throughout the summer months in a professionalized setting while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is the proving ground for players that aspire to reach the highest-levels of the game, while providing affordable family entertainment within their city.

About the United Soccer Leagues

As United Soccer Leagues starts its third decade of operation, soccer at all levels continues to grow in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean. The largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America, United Soccer Leagues is dedicated to growing the sport at the grassroots level in every community. The USL First Division and Second Division (North American men’s professional soccer), the USL Premier Development League (U23 North American men’s amateur), the USL W-League (North American women’s amateur), the USL Super-20 League (U20 North American men’s and women’s amateur) and the USL Super Y-League (North American boy’s and girl’s elite youth amateur) have provided a platform for thousands of players to reach their dreams since 1986. This vision and commitment to develop a soccer nation by fans, investors, administrators, coaches, and players has created the foundation for the growth of the sport, while presenting affordable, exciting family entertainment in over 100 cities and towns on the continent.

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