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.
Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact have frequently made headlines over recent weeks. Discussions regarding what would happen to Canadian MLS teams prompted the Impact name to grow stronger. After seeing a positive increase in fanfare, Montreal Impact Executives have announced a U-23 Team on September 4th. This announcement means the complete overhaul of their academy operations.
Head Coach Jason Di Tulio is helming this reverse football club. He has a longstanding history with the Montreal Impact, making 75 appearances between the 2002-07 MLS Seasons. Competing in professional football grew to challenges & Tulio moved towards football coaching. Throughout his coaching tenure, Jason has coached several academy teams with the Montreal Impacts. Assisting Di Tulio will be Esteban Landazbal. Together these men will work towards honing the skillsets of players to a higher level. However, it also likely means that footballers under the age of 23 won’t be seen in the Montreal Impact.
An official statement was issued by the Montreal Impact Academy Director, Patrick Leduc. He evoked that the U-23 Team has met an objective & goal that’s been desired in their organization for a prolonged period. Patrick emphasized that through a U-23 Team, players under the Montreal Impact banner have a better potential of growing in a professional setting. Director Leduc thanked all employed personnel with the academy for their continued efforts to give young players an excellent opportunity to reach MLS.
Further Changes to Impact Academy
The Montreal Impact Academy announced additional changed to their organization, revealing that Patrice Bernier will take a more prominent coaching role. This comes after Patrice has worked alongside Thierry Henry since January 2020. Assistant Coach Bernier evoked his excitement & pleasure behind obtaining this promotion. He noted it’d allow himself to maintain a professional relationship with the Montreal Impact, while also training U-23 squad members to hone their skillsets better.
Additional Under-Pro Age teams with the Montreal Impact are listed below.
= Under-14. = Under-15. = Under-17.
The inclusion of an Under-23 Team means that the Montreal Impact Academy has reached their maximum, offering all age groupings outside of Major League Soccer.
Dell Loy Hansen announced that he’d be selling Real Salt Lake FC, which follows after the team owner had an influx of reports indicating racist comments throughout recent months. It’s believed that Major League Soccer forced Hansen to leave, not risking a potential fallout of African American players or supporters. Dell Roy will now sell “Utah Soccer Holdings Ltd” to the highest bidder. Whoever purchases Hanse’s company will receive full ownership of the Utah Royals in the National Women’s Soccer League, the Real Monarchs of United Soccer, and Real Salt Lake in MLS.
The MLS Commissioner announced that Dell Roy Hansen is selling “Utah Soccer Holdings Ltd”, leading towards the belief that this multi-millionaire was pushed out for MLS. Don Garber revealed that their investigation into the reports made August 28th about Hansen’s racist remarks found proof of evidence within 24 hours. Employed personnel working under Hansen informed MLS Corporate that Dell Roy made multiple racist remarks, often using racial slurs to describe situations & people.
Standard apologies given when caught breaking corporate obligations were provided by Dell Roy Hansen, seemingly written by a Personal Assistant & not himself. It’s mentioned that there were times when he spoke too quickly and didn’t consider the intentions or feelings his sentiments evoked. Hansen’s official statement expressed his full responsibility towards the reports that his words hold a significant impact on African communities that support Real Salt Lake City FC. Dell Roy Hansen would then apologize for his insensitivity & promise to become a better man.
Hansen’s final position in Major League Soccer will be assisting the new ownership in transitioning into club leaders. Hansen claims he’ll work diligently with whatever investment group, corporation, or multi-millionaire that purchases Real Salt Lake FC. It should be clarified that details on the associated cost of buying “Utah Soccer Holdings Ltd” wasn’t provided by Major League Soccer or Dell Roy Hansen. It’s expected to garner upwards of $20 million or more in a private bidding war.
It should be mentioned that new ownership can rebrand & relocate this team to another city while employing new players and workforce personnel. Dell Roy Hansen hopes this can be avoided but understands it might not be possible.
The United European Football Association must now record Canada into their history books, which comes after Canadian Alphonso Davies became the 1st footballer from his nation to obtain a UEFA Champions League title. Canada’s Alphonso Davies competes for Bayern Munich, with the organization entering the UEFA finals against Paris Saint-Germain. These two opposing teams would compete in Lisbon on August 23rd, with Bayern Munich becoming victorious with a single goal.
Alphonso Davies formally played for the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer, where the then 19-year-old footballer would become known for his prodigy-like skillsets. Davies would garner notable popularity amongst MLS supporters, prompting CONCACAF to contract Alphonso for international contention & acquisition. CONCACAF’s international exposure saw Davies become a global household name for football supporters, prompting Bayern Munich to recruit this footballer since Mid-2019.
It should be clarified that contracted players under the CONCACAF Division typically don’t receive a position in the UEFA Champions League. Four players with CONCACAF have obtained this notable accomplishment, including Dwight York for Manchester United in 1999. Rafael Marquez competed with Barcelona FC in 2006, and Keylor Nava was contracted with Real Madrid in 2016. Alphonso Davies becomes the 4th CONCACAF member to acquire this title.
Alphonso Davies also acquired the title of “9th Youngest Starting Player in the UEFA Champions League”. However, when considering his position at Bayern Munich, Alphonso is the youngest defender to ever compete in the United European Football Association. These notable titles prompted the Canadian Broadcasting Service to interview Alphonso Davies via videoconference, where the former Vancouver Whitecaps defender would express heartfelt gratitude towards Canada.
Thanks to Canada
Davies mentioned that his victory is for all Canadian football supporters, that nobody would’ve imagined his journey in professional sports would lead to playing at Bayern Munich & winning the UEFA Champions League. He’d emphasize the prompt rise of his professional growth, noting that he’d never believe someone if they’d told him about today in 2018. That’s when Alphonso Davies last competed under the MLS banner. He’ll also enter the Major League Soccer history books as the 1st CONCACAF player to compete in a European championship.
The Premier League, La Liga, and Major League Soccer have all experienced an influx of racism towards footballers of African descent. The most recent example of this occurred with Major League Soccer, where their 1st match allowing for supporters was held in the Post-COVID Era. Five thousand fans were seen social distancing in the stands, with Nashville FC & FC Dallas competing against each other in Texas. Supporters began booing footballers from both teams after these players decided to kneel during the American National Anthem. It prompted an onslaught of adverse reactions from both Dallas & Nashville, with the teams being unable to believe that Frisco Residents would act in this manner. It’s the 1st time reactions of this magnitude have unfolded in the Texas town.
Major League Soccer Organizers have begun sorting out the scheduling errors for their 2020 season, with the suspension period enacted between March & July resulting in numerous issues. The 2020 Season has started returning to normal, with new concerns regarding racism began to be revealed. MLS Corporate has allowed teams to stand behind the Black Lives Matter Movement, which has separated America into two camps. However, it’s unknown if MLS Corporate will permit their teams the right to remove racist supporters. Refusing to act on the recent racism shown during Nashville & Dallas’s match would show cowardly intolerance from MLS Corporate.
Nick Cannon from Dallas FC released a formal statement regarding what happened during the recent game. He’d emphasize his disgust in the live audience, and the painful hurt that’s felt whenever their actions towards stopping racism are booed. Nick Cannon noted his love for Dallas FC and those that support his club. However, Cannon evoked that the support being seen recently isn’t welcomed at future matches & that fans should be removed from the stadium immediately upon their ignorant behaviour.
The New Sign of Support
Unsurprisingly, all footballers with Dallas FC & Nashville FC decided to kneel during the National Anthem. It’s become the conventional method of showing support against racism in Summer 2020. Fans from each respective professional sporting league have uttered racist sentiments against this support, which grows tiresome for those wanting equality amongst all nationalities.
The 2020 Major League Soccer Regular Season is slated to resume in before the end of August. MLS Corporate released a schedule for their upcoming games after the “MLS is Back Tournament” has concluded. However, that schedule didn’t account for the Canadian Teams in Major League Soccer. Analysts questioned if TFC, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the Montreal Impact wouldn’t be permitted to compete in the 2020 Season. This would’ve followed after failed negotiations with the Canadian Liberal Federal Government. However, the MLS Commissioner Dan Garber has clarified that they’re working diligently with all three Canadian teams to ensure their presence throughout the 2020 Season.
Travel restrictions between the United States & Canada are still prevalent, with consideration of the removal of these restrictions not coming until August 31st. It’s expected that with the surging number of COVID-19 Cases in America, those restrictions will remain in effect. Subsequently, Dan Garber plans to implement a “Phased-In Approach” with Canada’s three Major League Soccer Teams.
MLS Commissioner Dan Garber revealed that approval for training is 1st required from the Federal Government of Canada. After obtaining permission to resume their regular season training, it’ll become an uphill battle to start the standard games for 2020. That’s because the Canadian Government must also approve Major League Soccer to allow the Montreal Impacts, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and TFC to compete against each other. These outfits will unfortunately not compete against American MLS Teams, avoiding additional outbreaks in Canadian Metropolises.
Dan Garber emphasized that after obtaining Federal approval, the MLS Corporate Division can satisfy numerous questions from sports reporters. He’d remark that the delayed approval could prompt Canadian teams to ender the 2nd Phase of 2020s Regular MLS Season, meaning they’d be considerably behind in-comparison to their American counterparts. Furthermore, Dan Garber couldn’t clarify how the MLS Championship would unfold in Toronto FC enter the finals for a 2nd consecutive year. Scheduling Canadian teams into the Championship will become impossible unless travelling grants are permitted to their footballers, which is unlikely after America has sustained more than 5+ Million Infections of COVID-19.
One of Germany’s most notable footballers has announced his retirement following the COVID-19 Pandemic & an increased period of vacationing with his family. This individual is Benedikt Höwedes of Schalke FC. He’d infamously compete for Germany’s National Football Team, being a dominating force in acquiring his home nation the “2014 FIFA World Cup” in Brazil. His career sustained thirteen years for announcing his public retirement through social media, ending a reign that won’t be forgotten by German football enthusiasts for decades to come.
Benedikt Höwedes competed with Schalke FC in 330 Official Season games before ending his decade-long run with this outfit. Höwedes left his home football club for Juventus FC for the 2017-18 Season under the loan, inevitably being sold to Lokomotiv Moscow is Russia for two consecutive seasons. After considerable delegations with his Russian football Club, Höwedes obtained permission to be released from his contract in June 2020.
The Defender spent July 2020 with his Son & Wife in the South of France, the three of them sharing a Camper Van. He’d notice the evident happiness his son had when sitting next to him throughout their prolonged vacation, prompting Höwedes to feel Professional Football is unimportant. Speaking with BBC Sports over a video conference, Benedikt Höwedes remarked that his son is nearly turning two & that his time within Moscow wasn’t remotely enjoyed. Benedikt would even say that his time with Lokomotiv brought suffering onto his life.
Benedikt Höwedes criticized Lokomotiv Moscow for their brutal development & training mentalities, which treat players more like robotic slaves than professional footballers. He’d also emphasized that international football is regularly moving away from the fans after COVID-19 and will find themselves without supporters if the line they tread isn’t walked carefully.
The History of Benedikt Höwedes
Benedikt Höwedes will be sorely missed in Germany, with his time as Schalke Captain being influential. He’d lead the Schalke’s towards victory throughout six sevens, while also working under the Germany National Football Team. His ferocity on the field allowed for Benedikt Höwedes to become one of three footballers to compete in every minute of the FIFA World Cup for their respective team. He’s a Multi-Functional Player that thousands throughout Germany hope will one day return.
September 12th marks the day when the Premier League will begin their 2020-21 Season. This announcement was made on July 24th, shocking supports of the football competition. 2019-2020s Premier League Season ended on July 25th. It’ll be less than 45 days before supporters are given their next opportunity to watch notable teams, like champion-holders Liverpool. It’s known that their 2020-21 Regular Season will be maintained until May 23rd of next year. Afterwards, top teams will enter the Champions League.
An official statement clarified that they’re consulting the Football Association & English Football League to determine the scheduling of domestic competitions. It’s suspected that under pandemic protocols, international matches outside of Europe won’t be hosted until likely 2022 or later. Premier League Executives hope that similar issues that followed this year won’t repeat in 2021, including the postponement of seasonal events for three months because of COVID-19. It should be emphasized that even though the Premier League finished their yearly campaign on July 25th, Liverpool had acquired championship victory in late June.
Details on the Champions League & Europa League, two tournaments that dominate professional football, weren’t clarified. It’s standard for the Europa to follow a similar schedule to the Premier League, allowing for both their top teams to enter the Champions League.
The Europa Football League will find challenges with scheduling their 2020-21 Season, with the 2019-20 festivities still underway until the end of August. They’ll have anywhere from twelve to fifteen days to plan their full season to reach contention for the Champions League. To date, Europa’s Wolverhampton Wanderers are slated to battle Manchester City in August. Manchester City is hopeful of acquiring Championship status for 2019-20.
MLS Season Starting on August 22nd
Major League Soccer announced their return-to-play for the 2020-21 Season, which will be on August 22nd. All teams will compete in six matches until September 13th. Afterwards, the second slate of games with reduced teams would be maintained from September 16th to November 8th. Those that hold losing streaks from August 22nd to September 13th will be terminated from competing in the second stage. Once the 2nd stage, if complete, the top teams will compete in the MLS Championship. The prompt season is to ensure that the 2021-22 MLS Season can unfold in normal conditions.
Charlotte FC, Saint Louis SC, and Sacramento FC have been informed that their first season in Major League Soccer will be postponed. Those delays follow financial concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic, with MLS knowing that new organizations thrive off merchandise sales & high attendance volumes from the local population.
Starting these three teams before supporters are permitted to attend stadiums again would’ve destroyed any chances at initial profits. It’s known that Charlotte FC will obtain the shorted delay & arrive for the 2022 MLS Season. Saint Louis SC & Sacramento FC are receiving longer postponements until the 2023 MLS Season. This gives all three organizations ample time to resolve any fallout concerns associated with COVID-19.
MLS Analysts speculated that all expansion teams announced earlier this year wouldn’t be permitted to move forward. This would’ve meant the delay of Austin FC, which was avoided after notable progress was made weeks before coronavirus attacked America. Austin is being permitted to launch for the 2021 MLS Season.
The MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, released a formal statement to football supporters. He indicated that each football club must adhere to their inaugural MLS season in standards that aren’t possible during the coronavirus. Garber hopes that with added extensions, these cities & their club owners be provided ample time to position their inaugural debut.
Teams in Major League Soccer respectively played two games each before COVID-19 inflicted the United States. MLS postponed their operations on March 12, resuming on July 8 in the state of Florida. Since arriving in Florida, multiple footballers have contracted the virus & been separated from the rest of their team. It’s resulted in infection statuses to drop tenfold.
No Infections Since July 14
The MLS is Back Tournament confirmed that there hadn’t been a single recorded case of Coronavirus since July 14. Major League Soccer hopes the zero-infection status can continue onwards until the tournament is completed on August 11. Tournament hopefuls include the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy, Atlanta United, and Toronto FC. Whoever obtained victory during this tournament will collect a $1 million prize & trophy. All points earned also transfer over to the regular season, with this applying for all teams in the tournament.
The United States of America has become the highest-infected nation with COVID19. Lack of knowledge regarding this virus has prompted millions in America to avoid wearing masks & social distance, which was proven throughout the George Floyd Riots. States like Florida are experiencing an influx of infections, with the new standard being 4000 per day. The virus is affecting all aspects of this state’s economy & operational sporting associations at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disneyland are beginning to feel these effects.
Major League Soccer is defying medical evidence and risking the lives of their footballers to move forward with the “MLS is Back Tournament”. Two teams have left the tournament after experiencing a high volume of infections, with matches now being regularly postponed to account for delayed testing in Florida. Another tournament event with Toronto FC & DC United was delayed for a 2nd time, with the announcement being made by MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbot. His revelation was created five minutes before kickoff time for their planned match on July 12th. Fans of both sides expressed notable disappointment through social media platforms like Twitter & Instagram.
Explanations from MLS Deputy Commissioner
Mark Abbot clarified that Pre-Game Testing on July 11th saw a positive infection of COVID19. Another test came back inconclusive, with the positive test from DC United & inconclusive from TFC. Major League Soccer’s Deputy Commissioner couldn’t move forward without risking further infections. Mark Abbot learned this after not implementing similar tactics with Nashville SC & FC Dallas, who both exited the tournament after having a time-wide outbreak of coronavirus.
ESPN Reporters questioned Mark Abbot, requesting his thoughts on conducting the tournament safely from now on. The MLS Deputy Commissioner believes it’s still possible but emphasized that if conditions worsen, a decision will be made with the proper authorities. Mark Abbot suggests that there’ll be minimal chances of conditions worsening, with their established protocols being enforced 24/7. MLS will continue identifying new infections & separating them from the teams, then conducting another quick test. Once all players infected all removed to quarantined areas, planned matches can resume. Those confirmed with COVID19 will be provided proper treatment & admirable living quarters to ensure a smooth recovery.