Men's Soccer Assistant Santos to Lead New PDL Franchise

Marcelo Santos
Jan. 12, 2016

MILWAUKEE – Marquette University men’s soccer assistant coach Marcelo Santos was introduced Monday as the first field manager of Kokomantis FC, an expansion Premier Development League program beginning competition in 2016. Santos will continue his assistant coaching duties for the Golden Eagles.

"I would like to thank (head coach) Louis Bennett, (director of athletics) Bill Scholl and (associate athletic director) Brian Hardin for allowing me to pursue this position as a head coach with the Kokomantis FC,” Santos said. “This is a great opportunity to grow my coaching experience which will also enhance our men's soccer program. This experience will allow me to represent Marquette men's soccer in the PDL.

"I am also very grateful to Mike Zimmerman, Dan Kuenzi and the rest of the MKE Sports & Entertainment group to be chosen as the first-ever head coach of this new PDL franchise."

The PDL, owned by the United Soccer League, consists of more than 73 teams spread across 31 states and is designed for players ages 23 and under. Nearly 500 professional players currently playing in the United States and Canada have PDL experience, including nearly 200 players currently on MLS rosters.

“We’re very happy for Marcelo and this tremendous opportunity,” Bennett said. “It’s personal development and head coaching experience that will improve our staff and provide better resources to our players, helping them improve and getting them closer to reaching their goals of playing professionally.”

Kokomo is situated about 60 miles north of Indianapolis and is the first franchise in the state of Indiana.

Santos has previous experience playing and coaching in the PDL, having played two seasons with the Thunder Bay Chill (2005-06) before signing on as an assistant coach in 2007, and helping the Chill to a PDL national championship in 2008. In his three seasons (2007-09) as a member of the coaching staff, the Chill posted a combined record of 36-8-9 following a 2-11-3 mark in the season prior to his arrival.



The Sao Paulo, Brazil native has since helped with the placement of several Marquette players in the PDL for further supplemental development.

The 2016 season will mark the ninth for Santos as an assistant coach on head coach Louis Bennett’s staff at Marquette, and fifth season in a full-time role. Since 2009, Santos has helped the Golden Eagles to two BIG EAST Conference championships, a BIG EAST tournament championship, and three NCAA tournament appearances. In addition, has helped 10 Marquette players reach the professional ranks.

The PDL is the top developmental men’s league in North America and features 73 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.


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