Wellington, Fl- The Palm Beach Pumas face the Bradenton Academics in their first home match of the 2006 PDL Season at International Polo Club in Wellington. The Bradenton squad is primarily made up of alumni from their IMG Sports Academy. Most of the team lives at the Academy year round, which makes them difficult to beat due to their excellent team chemistry. Coached by the former MLS, Tampa Bay Mutiny Assistant, Tom Durkin, the squad always plays an attractive possession style of soccer.
Both the Pumas and the Academics have advanced professional players. Palm Beach advanced Cory Gibbs, a member of this year's U.S. World Cup Team, Alejandro Moreno of the MLS's Houston Dynamo. Allen Handy and Oscar Gill are currently on the USL's Miami FC. Bradentonís Michael Parkhurst won MLS Rookie of the Year.
The Academics are 1-1 on the season and have 3 pts., which leaves them tied for second place with the Pumas and the Cocoa Expos. Bradenton beat Ajax America in their opening game 3-2 and lost to league power Carolina Dynamo 2-3.
The Pumas will be looking for quality play from several of their local players this week. Ben Ward of Jupiter, makes his return to the team after a knee injury sidelined him for several weeks. Adam Dupere of Wellington also returns from injury and should see time in the midfield. Combination play between the midfielders has progressed this week. Central Midfielder Stephen Hogan has had a quality week of training and hopes to continue his playmaking this weekend along with Joe McGuire and Carl Sheard who have had a solid opening to the season. Finally the Pumas see two key players enter the roster as John Crawley who has just completed his final exams at Long Island University and Ian Bennett of Marian College has just returned from a training stint in Germany.
Tickets are available at the gate:
$7 for Adults
Youth Under 18 are Free