Rudy Calderon / MLSsoccer.com
Major League Soccer and adidas Launch League-Wide MLS Youth Affiliate Network
Initiative Designed to Enhance Player Identification and Development in Youth Programs
NEW YORK (September 9, 2019) – Major League Soccer, in collaboration with adidas, announced today The MLS Youth Affiliate Network which will provide unprecedented access for young players, coaches and clubs at all levels as part of the League’s ongoing efforts to advance the game and enhance player development. The MLS Youth Affiliate Network will launch this fall in advance of the 2019-2020 youth academy season.
The MLS Youth Affiliate Network is designed to improve athlete identification and development while creating a path to higher levels of soccer for youth players. Select players within the network will participate in elite player development and talent identification programming. Coaches will have access to high-level coaching education opportunities.
The Youth Affiliate Network will also grant access to the MLS Youth Affiliate Coaches Summit at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in January 2020. Affiliates will be permitted to promote their MLS club affiliations and participate in elite competitions run by MLS, their MLS partner club, and adidas.
“Major League Soccer is committed to growing the game of soccer in the United States and Canada from the youth level to the pros,” said Fred Lipka, Vice President of Player Development for Major League Soccer. “The launch of the MLS Youth Affiliate Program, with the support from adidas, allows us to strengthen our ecosystem by casting a wider net at the youth level.”
“Through this new program, Major League Soccer and adidas will create unparalleled visibility and exposure for young creators that have the skills to get to next level of the game, driving long-term benefits for their future” said Aaron Maines Head of U.S. Soccer Sports Marketing for adidas. “At adidas, we believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives, and this initiative helps support that position for affiliate players in the network, and beyond.”
The program is a key pillar of the landmark partnership extension between Major League Soccer and adidas that marked adidas’ largest-ever investment in North America. As part of the agreement, adidas, who has collaborated with MLS since the league’s inception, was named the official supplier for MLS, its clubs and youth academies. The iconic brand for shoes, clothing and accessories outfits every MLS team with uniforms, footwear, training gear and sideline apparel, and is the league’s provider of the official match ball.