Another sign that spring is quickly coming into focus arrived on Friday when the 2014 Premier Development League schedule was released.
GPS Portland Phoenix will host the Vermont Voltage in the first Northeast Division match of the season, which will take place at 6pm on May 10 at Deering High School. Later that evening, Seacoast United Phantoms will travel to New York to face Division newcomer, the Westchester Flames, at 7:30pm at City Park Stadium.
The remaining Northeast Division clubs will open their seasons the following weekend. The Western Mass Pioneers will host CFC Azul at 7:30pm on May 16 at Lusitano Stadium. Real Boston Rams kick off their second season at 7pm on May 17 when they host Vermont at Veterans Stadium. Meanwhile, the Montreal Impact U-23s make their debut at 7:30pm on May 17 when they face Westchester at City Park Stadium.
The 2014 regular season will run through Jul. 19, with Westchester and Western Mass closing out the divisional schedule at 7:30pm on Jul. 19 at Lusitano Stadium.
The Northeast Division will feature eight clubs in 2014, one more than the total from 2013. Division fixture Ottawa Fury left PDL during the offseason to join the NASL, while the Flames return to the division after a four-year stay in the Mid-Atlantic Division. The Impact 23s are the newest entrants to the Division.
Vermont has the longest tenure amongst all New England-based PDL clubs as it enters its 17th season, while Western Mass has played USL-affiliated soccer since 1998.