MLS

Official: MLS to launch second league in 2022

Major League Soccer continues to grow and on Monday it was announced that a new lower-tier professional league will be launched to develop young players.

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Official: MLS to launch second league in 2022

With Major League Soccer continuing to grow rapidly, the US soccer governing body has confirmed it will launch a lower-tier professional league “aimed at developing young players from its academy system.” The announcement was made on Monday, although the name of the new league has yet to be confirmed.

Development-focused league

It is understood that the new league will have around 20 teams in its first five years, including clubs that already exist and play in the USL Championship and USL League One. The goal is that by 2023 every Major League Soccer franchise will have a second team in the lower-tier professional league.

This league will rank below the second division USL Championship and it will start in March 2022 and conclude with a championship match in December, which is a similar schedule to that of the MLS.

The key missing piece for us was this place where our young players could get meaningful minutes in high-level competition,” said MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott.

"This will also create more job opportunities for young coaches to start their professional careers at the lower levels.

“Our anticipation is that the USL, who we have a great relationship with, will remain a very strong and vibrant league, and continue to do as much for player development as they have and continue to help grow the sport in this country," Abbott added. "I think we’re going to see that league continue to thrive. But over time I would anticipate that most [MLS] clubs will all ultimately be in this league.”