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MLS announces teams for youth league

Article Written by TopDrawerSoccer
Published: August 3, 2020

Expansion clubs added on August 4, 2020.

Major League Soccer today announced that 65 former U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs will join the League’s existing club academies to create a partnership that will transform youth player development in the United States and Canada.

The 65 youth clubs will join the MLS academies as Founding Members of MLS’ elite player development platform. The new platform, which will include more than 8,000 players throughout the U.S. and Canada, will consist of elite year-round competition, as well as player identification initiatives, coaching education opportunities, and additional programming to create the premier player development environment.

The platform will operate with a groundbreaking governance structure that promotes collaboration, innovation and input across all areas of the soccer landscape. Within the structure, technical working groups will provide recommendations on the platform’s strategic objectives and standards, outline competition guidelines and formats, as well as introduce platform programming. By unifying the elite player development landscape and creating a collaborative structure, the new platform will accelerate and enhance player development in North America.

With a focus on maximizing each player’s potential, the new development platform will not only provide high-level, year-round competition for players, but will provide important programming, education and innovation in the key areas of player development:

  • Player Identification
  • Coaching
  • Environment
  • Personal Growth
  • Community Outreach

“There is strong positive momentum and excitement among MLS club academies and elite academy clubs to co-create a platform that will deliver an unparalleled experience for the nation’s top players and clubs,” said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development. “The development of professional and elite players requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, beyond just the competition format, and we are having daily conversations with academy clubs across the country who are committed to building that environment with us.”

Since launching the MLS club academy initiative in 2007, Major League Soccer has demonstrated unprecedented commitment to the development of top level professional players in the United States and Canada, including an investment of more than $70 million last season alone. This investment has produced more than 250 homegrown players that have become professional and national team players, including recent standout players such as Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas, Solar Soccer Club), James Sands (New York City FC academy, New York Soccer Club) and Matt Real (Philadelphia Union, FC Delco).

The elite academy clubs that are Founding Members of the new platform have also been leaders in the development of players for college, MLS and the national teams. Combined, MLS Academies and the elite academies joining the platform have produced more than 90% of the U.S. Youth National Team players in the last year, making the new platform the top destination for the best young players in North America.

With the launch of this new platform, MLS and the elite academy clubs will not only continue to develop world class players but will create a world class soccer development culture that supports and inspires elite players throughout the countries.

“The Sockers FC Chicago organization is excited about this great opportunity to collaborate with MLS, in the development of this new competition platform,” said David Richardson, Sockers FC Chicago Technical Director. “In our soccer communities we feel that our work as leaders of Elite Academies alongside the leaders of MLS Academies will help to shape a world-class soccer culture in our country. This will be a benefit to all that play, coach, referee, and support our game from the grassroots to the professional level.”

“Major League Soccer’s inclusive approach to the greater soccer market is the most exciting aspect of this movement,” said Ryan Miller, Portland Timbers Academy Director. "This new competition will continue to provide a platform for the top player development clubs in the country to get the most meaningful games. Elite player development requires the highest level of competition and this platform will provide that.” Applications for additional clubs to join will be available in the coming weeks. More information about the competition structure as well as the platform’s official brand will be announced at a later date.

Below is the list of teams set to take part:

Albion SC CA
Atlanta United GA
Austin FC TX
Ballistic United CA
Baltimore Armour MD
Barca Residency Academy AZ
Bayside Futebol Club RI
Beachside of Connecticut CT
Bethesda SC MD
Blau Weiss Gottschee NY
Breakers FC CA
Cedar Stars Academy Bergen NJ
Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth NJ
Chargers Soccer Club FL
Chicago FC United IL
Chicago Fire SC IL
Chula Vista FC CA
Cincinnati United Premier Soccer Club OH
City SC CA
Colorado Rapids CO
Columbus Crew SC OH
D.C. United DC
De Anza Force CA
Empire United Soccer Academy NY
FC Cincinnati OH
FC Dallas TX
FC Delco PA
FC Greater Boston Bolts MA
FC Westchester NY
Florida Rush Soccer Club FL
Houston Dynamo TX
IMG Academy FL
Indiana Fire Academy IN
Inter Miami CF FL
Internationals OH
Jacksonville FC FL
L.A. United Futbol Academy CA
LA Galaxy CA
LA Surf Soccer Club CA
Lanier Soccer Academy GA
Los Angeles Football Club CA
Metropolitan Oval NY
Miami Rush Kendall SC FL
Michigan Wolves MI
Minnesota United FC MN
MLS Charlotte NC
MLS St. Louis MO
Montreal Impact QC
Murrieta Surf Soccer Club CA
Nashville SC TN
New England Revolution MA
New York City FC NY
New York Red Bulls NJ
New York Soccer Club NY
Nomads CA
Oakwood Soccer Club CT
Orlando City SC FL
PA Classics PA
Philadelphia Union PA
Phoenix Rising FC AZ
Player Development Academy NJ
Portland Timbers OR
Real Colorado CO
Real Salt Lake UT
RGV FC Toros Academy TX
RISE Soccer Club TX
RSL Arizona AZ
Sacramento Republic CA
Saint Louis FC MO
San Antonio FC TX
San Jose Earthquakes CA
Santa Barbara Soccer Club CA
SC Del Sol AZ
Seacoast United NH
Seattle Sounders FC WA
SF Elite CA
SF Glens CA
Shattuck-St. Mary's MN
Silicon Valley SA CA
Sockers FC Chicago IL
Solar Soccer Club TX
South Florida Football Academy FL
Southern Soccer Academy GA
Sporting Kansas City KS
Tampa Bay United Rowdies FL
Toronto FC ON
Total Futbol Academy CA
TSF Academy NJ
Valeo Futbol Club MA
Vancouver Whitecaps FC BC
VARDAR Soccer Club MI
Ventura County Fusion CA
West Florida Flames FL
Weston FC FL

Expansion Clubs

  • Achille FC - DC
  • Albion SC Las Vegas - NV (begins in 2021)
  • Alexandria Soccer Association - VA
  • Bayside Futebol Club - RI
  • Black Watch Premier Albany - NY
  • FC Bay Area - CA
  • Houston Dynamo Unidos - TX
  • Inter Atlanta FC - GA
  • Javanon FC - KY
  • Lamorinda Soccer Club - CA
  • Las Vegas Sports Academy - NV (begins in 2021)
  • Michigan Jaguars - MI
  • Midwest United FC - MI
  • Napa United - CA
  • Orlando City Youth Soccer Club - FL
  • Real Jersey FC - NJ
  • Sheriffs Fútbol Club - CA
  • Springfield South County Youth Club - VA
  • Total Football Club - TX
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