Gustavus men’s soccer players Max Malmquist and Flynn Stewart-Franzen are spending their summer vacation in Salt Lake City, Utah playing soccer for the Ogden Outlaws of the Premier Development League (PDL). The Outlaws defeated the Brigham Young Cougars 2-1 on the Fourth of July and Stewart-Franzen tied the score at 1-1 with a goal in the 56th minute.
The PDL is the top Under-23 men’s amateur soccer league in North America and is the third tier of the United Soccer League (USL). The PDL boasts 67 teams within four divisions across the United States and Canada, with each team playing 16 regular season matches (eight home and eight away). Players in the league have the ability to compete against other top athletes during the summer months, while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. These players consist of top Division I, II, and III athletes from across the nation. The level of competition was a main factor for Max Malmquist to tryout for the team after graduating from high school in 2007.
After spending some time on the training squad and working his way up to the traveling team last season, Malmquist has made the adjustment to the first team full-time this season. Prior to the start of the 2008 campaign, Malmquist realized the team was short of defenders and talked to Ogden coach Mike Hickman about adding fellow Gustie Flynn Stewart-Franzen to the roster. The coach was happy to add him to the roster, so Stewart-Franzen made the move out to Salt Lake City, Utah for the summer. Both players are currently living under the Malmquist roof, while practicing three to four times a week with one to two games a week. The intense schedule has helped both players with their fitness levels as they prepare for the soccer season upon returning to Gustavus in mid-August.
Flynn Stewart-Franzen, a senior defender from Minneapolis, Minn., was an All-Conference and a West Region Second Team honoree after starting all 21 games for the Gusties collecting one assist. He anchored a defense that ranked seventh nationally with a 0.44 goals against average. Max Malmquist (Salt Lake City, Utah) returns as a sophomore midfielder after recording two goals and two assists for six points in 21 games as a freshman.
For Stewart-Franzen and Malmquist, the highlight of the season has been an exhibition match against Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top professional soccer league in the United States. Despite losing the game 1-0, both received valuable experience with Stewart-Franzen defending Division I graduate Tino Nunez (University of California-Santa Barbara) and Malmquist matching up against another Division I graduate Kenny Cutler (Clemson).
Currently, the Ogden Outlaws are in sixth place in the Northwest Division with a record of 4-6-2. Stewart-Franzen has recorded one goal while Malmquist has registered one assist with both playing a total of eight games. The Outlaws season continues tonight with a rematch against the BYU Cougars at South Stadium in Provo, Utah.