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By ESPN Staff

Blackhawks to take flight for 2009 PDL season

FC Atlanta Blackhawks announced today the launch of a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL) franchise for the 2009 season. The Blackhawks will begin league play in May.

"With the number of quality college players coming out of the state of Georgia every year, a PDL team is a necessary part of the soccer landscape in this state. Our team will be a preview of the type of teams that they could put together if schools like UGA or Georgia Tech offered men's NCAA Division I soccer," stated Massoud Roushandel, head coach and executivedDirector of the Blackhawks.

No stranger to the PDL, Roushandel is the current executive director of FC Atlanta youth soccer club and was the head coach of the PDL's Augusta Fireballs in 2005 and assistant coach in 2006. In their first official season, Roushandel helped lead the team into the playoffs with a roster that included a majority of the players from his 2002 USYSA National Champion Atlanta Fire youth team. The Augusta Fireballs ceased operation after the 2006 season due to the difficulty of attracting Atlanta-based players who would need to commute to Augusta.

"The city of Augusta was great and the fan support was tremendous, but it was really difficult having to travel five hours round trip to play."

The Blackhawks will unveil their new Web site and logo, as well as their home venue, in the coming weeks. The Web site will announce tryout dates along with other news and information including information on their reserve team/college prep program, summer camps, sponsorship opportunities, ticket sales, etc.

The team will compete in the Southeast division of the PDL along with the Baton Rouge Capitols, the Bradenton Academics, the Central Florida Kraze, the Mississippi Brilla, the Nashville Metros, the New Orleans Jesters and the Panama City Pirates.

Roushandel also states, "Without a current professional team in Atlanta, we hope to fill a void for the soccer enthusiasts that are looking for some good quality, entertaining men's soccer during the summer months. The team will be a who's who of top college players from throughout the Southeast along with several foreign players and ex-professionals. For all of the area youth players that aspire to play college soccer, watching PDL games will give them a good idea of what it takes to be an impact player at the collegiate level"

Single game tickets to Blackhawks games will cost $5 for adults and youth 4 and above. All others including senior citizens (65+) will be admitted for free. In addition, the Blackhawks will offer season tickets for $25 which will be good for all 8 home games. Season tickets can be ordered immediately by calling the FC Atlanta Blackhawks office at 404-372-8700 or by e-mailing Massoud Roushandel at


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