TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22: Three years ago Shaun Goater, Kyle Lightbourne and Paul Scope approached the BFA seeking moral support for the formation of the Bermuda Hogges as the Islands first ever professional football team with plans to compete in the United Soccer League (USL-2). The three Hogges owners were driven by one motive and that was to provide an avenue whereby the best senior players would have the opportunity to compete in a league more challenging than what was present in Bermuda while at the same time aspire younger players to perform at a higher level.

This past summer, the Bermuda Hogges completed their third year of participation in the USL - 2 and Shaun, Kyle and I decided at the end of the season that now was the time to reassess our strategic vision in preparation for the 2010 season. In making our assessment, we were determined to ensure that we remain true to our initial intentions for establishing the Hogges which was to assist in the continued and progressive development of football players in Bermuda, both on and off the playing field.

You will recall that representatives from both the Bermuda Hogges and the BFA travelled to Tampa, Florida in November to attend the USL Annual Convention. It was during the Convention that significant discussions and planning with USL Executive and Manangement Officials reaffirmed that the Bermuda Hogges continued participation in the USL was very important and in doing so had the total support of all parties concerned. Various discussions leading up to the Convention regarding the Hogges desire to move in a new direction were welcomed and supported by the USL Executive.

Therefore, in keeping with our stated objective, the Bermuda Hogges together with the Bermuda Football Association are extremely delighted to announce that the Bermuda Hogges will participate in the USL Premier Development League (PDL) for the upcoming 2010 season. The decision to withdraw from the USL - 2 and join the PDL highlights the Bermuda Hogges commitment to remain a positive force for improving and developing players by giving them the opportunity to compete at a higher level and against foreign opposition.

It is important to note that a significant factor in our decision to join the PDL is the BFA's willingness to join forces with the Hogges. This sign of support by the BFA will help the overall improvement of the Hogges operations in a number of key areas including the BFA assuming control over player selection which will comprise mainly those players under 23 years in the National Academy supplemented by a selection of older or more experienced players. The BFA will also have oversight of coaching and other technical staff appointed to the team and will provide admininstrative and financial support along with Hogges personnel to include game day operations for the 2010 season.

The Bermuda Football Association sees the continued working relationship with the Bermuda Hogges as critical in the overall enhancement of the National Academy Program for the U-23 players. What makes the Bermuda Hogges participation in the USL - PDL significant is that it provides the next group of senior national team players with a sustained international games program leading up to such qualification tournaments as the CAC Games, Pan Am Games, Olympics and then the World Cup qualification tournament in 2012. The PDL will offer a minimum of 16 matches both here and abroad with a possibility of additional friendly matches between other USL and international teams throughout the year.

This BFA / Bermuda Hogges relationship provides the added benefit of pooling both organizations resources that will be mutually beneficial as we strive to achieve each of our stated goals and objectives. One of the outcomes of this relationship, we envisage, is that our players will gain exposure to other clubs in the USL, MLS or perhaps clubs in Europe largely because the USL has placed an increased focus on their PDL program. The benefits of joining together for the purposes of playing in the PDL is significant and we see a renewed focus being placed on Bermuda and our football as a result.