The inaugural MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase begin this Friday in the Dallas area with 128 teams vying for the first MLS Cup titles in the U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19 age groups.
The MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs follow a single-elimination format and bring together the top 32 teams in each age group, with qualification based on performance in the regular season.
During the event, 27 matches will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. Six matches will take place on FC Dallas’ stadium field in Frisco, Texas.
The MLS NEXT Cup Showcase provides teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs the platform to play three matches. Select players will also be chosen to participate in the MLS NEXT Showcase Best Of matches.
Every game will be filmed and include a post-event technical report and analysis. Former MLS players (MLS Greats) will serve as Match Evaluators at the event, assessing the quality of play and identifying top talent. They include Greg Garza, Justin Mapp and Andy Williams, as well as Stephen McCarthy and Chad McCarty.
The MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase also bring together U.S. Soccer’s Director of Talent Identification, Tony Lepore, youth national team coaches, college coaches and scouts.
All players, coaches and referees will partake in a week of virtual programming. Sessions include a high-performance webinar, insight into the college recruiting process, a U.S. Soccer youth national team update, presentations from the MLS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department and more.