MLS NEXT aims to help young players' development in North America
On 8 September, Major League Soccer officially announced a platform to help in the development of youth players across North America.
MLS is working alongside the best youth academies around the country. More than 489 clubs will be taking part in the programme which will take in six age groups - an initiative which will guarantee the future of the league. Its inaugural season will start this weekend, 11-12 September and due to the coronavirus pandemic, health guidelines will be strictly followed.
”MLS NEXT advances player development in North America, furthering Major League Soccer’s commitment to developing world-class players through an elite competitive pathway. Major League Soccer is excited to begin MLS NEXT competition which will place player development at the forefront while giving players a safe and healthy environment to advance from academies to MLS first teams,” said Fred Lipka, VP and technical director of MLS Player Development, in a statement
Six age groups
The competition will host six different age groups (U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19) and as in the MLS, the tournament will be locally-based in order to eliminate travelling. The first round will take four-week phases in order to keep everyone safe amid the outbreak.