Major League Soccer dedicates themselves towards the development of young athletes, which have the potential to become future superstars in MLS or the Premier League. MLS’s continued dedication was proven with the announcement with “Major League Soccer’s – New Elite Youth Development Platform”. It’s commonly being referred to MLS NEXT & will focus on the North American landscape of youth football.
Executives announced MLS NEXT before the 2021-22 Season, which will start earlier than average to account for possible delays associated to the COVID-19 pandemic. MLS wasn’t the exclusive party behind this announcement, with collaborations occurring with elite youth academies in the United States & Canada. MLS NEXT will encompass 490 Football Clubs across six age groups, working towards a modernized vision of Major League Soccer.
The Technical Director & Vice President of MLS Player Development, Fred Lipka, confirmed the announce of NEXT. It was evoked that Major League Soccer’s commitment towards the youth of North America hasn’t faltered during COVID-19. Fred Lipkah also mentioned MLS’s excitement towards starting the first season of NEXT, which won’t be televised & be divided amongst divisions throughout North America. The Vice President finalized his statements by mentioning there’ll be numerous protocols in place to protect children during the COVID era.
MLS NEXT was initially unveiled to elite footballers aged between thirteen to nineteen on September 7th. Major League Soccer wouldn’t allow the announcement to become public information under September 12th.
MLS Next Explained
The inaugural season for “Major League Soccer’s – New Elite Youth Development Platform” started on September 12th. The announcement of MLS NEXT was made public information 6-minutes before kickoff time, showing how Major League Soccer Executives wanted to keep the information quiet for the safety of potential media-targeted families. Each respective match that’s played throughout the MLS NEXT inaugural season is committing to federal & state guidelines for COVID-19.
Six age groups have been selected by Major League Soccer for the NEXT Platform. Planned matches won’t go outside their predisposed age groups, meaning that Under 19s couldn’t compete against Under 13s. Age groups selected by MLS for the NEXT Platform are listed below.
- Under Thirteens
- Under Fourteens
- Under Fifteens
- Under Sixteens
- Under Seventeens
- Under Nineteens