Both MLS Next & Soccer Youth are the Future of Youth Soccer in North America
MLS Next is the new elite youth development platform for rising stars to test their talents against the best players in North America. With the discontinuation of the Development Academy League (DA) that happened during the COVID-19 outbreak, MLS Next is the face of youth soccer in the United States. This is also showing how US Soccer is beginning to format their clubs to replicate the youth academy systems overseas in the UK and Europe. This system allows for players to develop in a professional soccer environment, and give some players the chance to reach the professional ranks within their club.
Teaming up with current MLS academies along with some of the top elite youth clubs around the country, MLS Next consists of over 450 teams across 113 clubs and six age groups (U13 – U-19). The competition will highlight local rivalries, and look to minimize travel and overnight trips by having teams play at neutral locations for the time being due to COVID-19. The fall season started up the weekend of September 11-12 and has already highlighted multiple youth players that have been able to make the jumps from the academy teams to the 1st team.
MLS Next will look to feature regional and national competitions that will bring the global soccer community together to accelerate the growth of each individual MLS Next player. Some players will go on to play for their MLS professional teams, and some might make the jump and move over to the UK or Europe and play with and against some of the best players in the world. Some of the most recent players that have been apart of the MLS Academy system before MLS Next and made this jump include Alfonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps/Bayern Munich), Weston McKinney (FC Dallas Academy/Juventus), Chris Richards (FC Dallas Academy/Bayern Munich), and Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy/RB Leipzig).
Soccer Youth also looks to bring a competitive soccer environment with the Soccer Youth All-American Series events in key areas across the nation, all leading up to Soccer Youth’s premier event, the Golden Cup. The Golden Cup showcases the best of the best talent from all the All-American Series events each winter. The inaugural event will take place on December 30th – January 2nd at new Paradise Sports Complex in Naples, Florida.