Soccer will have a new league in America: MLS NEXT Pro. Established in June by MLS, the new league will be a league that will help the country's young talent develop a full trajectory that will lead them to the MLS teams.
This league has two objectives: to function as a third division and also to connect the soccer academies with the teams of the maximum soccer circuit.
Its first season will start in 2022 and will have 22 teams distributed among 21 MLS affiliates and one independent team: Rochester NY FC, owned by English soccer star Jamie Vardy.
The rest will be distributed among teams from Columbus, Colorado, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New England, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver.
Jamie Vardy's franchise
Rochester NY FC will be the independent team that will join MLS NEXT Pro, to complete the list of 22 teams that will compete in this tournament.
The club, founded in 1996 as the Rochester Rhinos, was renamed Rochester NY FC in September. It is owned by David and Wendy Dorkin, and Premier League star, Leicester City FC striker and England national soccer team star Jamie Vardy.
"Rochester established itself as a winning club with the Rhinos, and we are pleased to add another chapter in the city's rich soccer history with Rochester NY FC."
"We are excited to develop future international soccer stars right here in our local community. By joining this league, Rochester is on the cusp of the future and evolution of world soccer," said David and Wendy Dworkin.
What other teams are joining Jamie Vardy's franchise for the inaugural season?
Here is the complete list of the teams that along with Rochester NY FC will make up the inaugural season of the new league:
But it has been confirmed that another 8 teams will join this new league in 2023. These clubs are affiliated with MLS and will be: Atlanta United, D. C. United, Charlotte FC, LA Galaxy, LAFC, New York Red Bulls and Nashville SC.
In addition, it is expected that MLS NEXT Pro will allow more independent clubs other than Rochester NY FC to participate in the future starting in 2023.
When will MLS NEXT Pro begin?
This tournament will begin its inaugural season in March 2022, one month after Major League Soccer action has begun.
The postseason is expected to take place in September, but the full schedule of games and other details of the competition will be released at a later date.
Chalers Altchek has been named President of the new league and Ali Curtis will serve as Senior Vice President of Competition and Operations.
After having given a league to the academies with MLS NEXT, this time U.S. Soccer has decided to up the ante.
And it is an excellent strategy to develop its future talents, unlike what happens in other parts of the world.
For example, in other places, academies or teams in which underage players play are given the jump to professionalism, which increases the pressure on young players, who have to shine from their first performances. And if this does not happen, the pressure increases.
By giving a change of direction in the development of its young talents and providing them with support, MLS NEXT Pro is an excellent option for young players who want to become professional soccer players.