Total of 95 clubs join forces as part of MLS's elite player development platform

It's a new era for soccer development in North America.

A total of 65 elite academy clubs which formerly participated in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy will join MLS's existing club academies as part of a new elite player development platform that is set to transform youth player development in the United States and Canada.

The 95 clubs become founding members of the new platform which will include more than 8,000 players throughout the U.S. and Canada and will consist of elite year-round competition, as well as player identification initiatives, coaching education opportunities, and additional programming to create the premier player development environment.

The platform will operate with a groundbreaking governance structure that promotes collaboration, innovation and input across all areas of the soccer landscape. Within the structure, technical working groups will provide recommendations on the platform’s strategic objectives and standards, outline competition guidelines and formats, as well as introduce platform programming. By unifying the elite player development landscape and creating a collaborative structure, the new platform will accelerate and enhance player development in North America.

Applications for additional clubs to join will be available in the coming weeks. More information about the competition structure as well as the platform’s official brand will be announced at a later date.

With a focus on maximizing each player’s potential, the new development platform will not only provide high-level, year-round competition for players, but will provide important programming, education and innovation in the key areas of player development:

  • Player Identification
  • Coaching
  • Environment
  • Personal Growth
  • Community Outreach

“There is strong positive momentum and excitement among MLS club academies and elite academy clubs to co-create a platform that will deliver an unparalleled experience for the nation’s top players and clubs,” said Fred Lipka, VP and Technical Director of MLS Player Development. “The development of professional and elite players requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, beyond just the competition format, and we are having daily conversations with academy clubs across the country who are committed to building that environment with us.”

Since launching the MLS club academy initiative in 2007, Major League Soccer has demonstrated unprecedented commitment to the development of top level professional players in the United States and Canada, including an investment of more than $70 million last season alone. This investment has produced more than 250 homegrown players that have become professional and national team players, including recent standout players such as Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas, Solar Soccer Club), James Sands (New York City FC academy, New York Soccer Club) and Matt Real (Philadelphia Union, FC Delco).

The elite academy clubs that are Founding Members of the new platform have also been leaders in the development of players for college, MLS and the national teams. Combined, MLS Academies and the elite academies joining the platform have produced more than 90 percent of the U.S. Youth National Team players in the last year, making the new platform the top destination for the best young players in North America.

With the launch of this new platform, MLS and the elite academy clubs will not only continue to develop world class players but will create a world class soccer development culture that supports and inspires elite players throughout the countries.

“The Sockers FC Chicago organization is excited about this great opportunity to collaborate with MLS, in the development of this new competition platform,” said David Richardson, Sockers FC Chicago Technical Director. “In our soccer communities we feel that our work as leaders of Elite Academies alongside the leaders of MLS Academies will help to shape a world-class soccer culture in our country. This will be a benefit to all that play, coach, referee, and support our game from the grassroots to the professional level.”

“Major League Soccer’s inclusive approach to the greater soccer market is the most exciting aspect of this movement,” said Ryan Miller, Portland Timbers Academy Director. "This new competition will continue to provide a platform for the top player development clubs in the country to get the most meaningful games. Elite player development requires the highest level of competition and this platform will provide that.”


Founding Members

  • Albion SC - CA
  • Atlanta United - GA
  • Austin FC - TX
  • Ballistic United - CA
  • Baltimore Armour - MD
  • Barca Residency Academy - AZ
  • Bayside Futebol Club - RI
  • Beachside of Connecticut - CT
  • Bethesda SC - MD
  • Blau Weiss Gottschee - NY
  • Breakers - CA
  • Cedar Stars Academy Bergen - NJ
  • Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth - NJ
  • Chargers Soccer Club - FL
  • Chicago FC United - IL
  • Chicago Fire FC - IL
  • Chula Vista FC - CA
  • Cincinnati United Premier Soccer Club - OH
  • City SC - CA
  • Colorado Rapids - CO
  • Columbus Crew SC - OH
  • D.C. United - DC
  • De Anza Force - CA
  • Empire United Soccer Academy - NY
  • FC Cincinnati - OH
  • FC Dallas - TX
  • FC Delco - PA
  • FC Greater Boston Bolts - MA
  • FC Westchester - NY
  • Florida Rush Soccer Club - FL
  • Houston Dynamo - TX
  • IMG Academy - FL
  • Indiana Fire Academy - IN
  • Inter Miami CF - FL
  • Internationals - OH
  • Jacksonville FC - FL
  • L.A. United Futbol Academy - CA
  • LA Galaxy - CA
  • LA Surf Soccer Club - CA
  • Lanier Soccer Academy - GA
  • Los Angeles Football Club - CA
  • Metropolitan Oval - NY
  • Miami Rush Kendall SC - FL
  • Michigan Wolves - MI
  • Minnesota United FC - MN
  • MLS Charlotte - NC
  • MLS St. Louis - MO
  • Montreal Impact - QC
  • Murrieta Surf Soccer Club - CA
  • Nashville SC - TN
  • NEFC - MA
  • New England Revolution - MA
  • New York City FC - NY
  • New York Red Bulls - NJ
  • New York Soccer Club - NY
  • Nomads - CA
  • Oakwood Soccer Club - CT
  • Orlando City SC - FL
  • PA Classics - PA
  • Philadelphia Union - PA
  • Phoenix Rising FC - AZ
  • Player Development Academy - NJ
  • Portland Timbers - OR
  • Real Colorado - CO
  • Real Salt Lake - UT
  • RGV FC Toros Academy - TX
  • RISE Soccer Club - TX
  • RSL Arizona - AZ
  • Sacramento Republic - CA
  • Saint Louis FC - MO
  • San Antonio FC - TX
  • San Jose Earthquakes - CA
  • Santa Barbara Soccer Club - CA
  • SC Del Sol - AZ
  • Seacoast United - NH
  • Seattle Sounders FC - WA
  • SF Elite - CA
  • SF Glens - CA
  • Shattuck-St. Mary's - MN
  • Silicon Valley SA - CA
  • Sockers FC Chicago - IL
  • Solar Soccer Club - TX
  • South Florida Football Academy - FL
  • Southern Soccer Academy - GA
  • Sporting Kansas City - KS
  • Tampa Bay United Rowdies - FL
  • Toronto FC - ON
  • Total Futbol Academy - CA
  • TSF Academy - NJ
  • Valeo Futbol Club - MA
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC - BC
  • VARDAR Soccer Club - MI
  • Ventura County Fusion - CA
  • West Florida Flames - FL
  • Weston FC - FL

Founding Members by state/province

Arizona

  • Barca Residency Academy
  • Phoenix Rising FC
  • RSL Arizona
  • SC Del Sol

British Columbia

  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

California

  • Albion SC
  • Ballistic United
  • Breakers
  • Chula Vista FC
  • City SC
  • De Anza Force
  • L.A. United Futbol Academy
  • LA Galaxy
  • LA Surf Soccer Club
  • Los Angeles Football Club
  • Murrieta Surf Soccer Club
  • Nomads
  • Sacramento Republic
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Santa Barbara Soccer Club
  • SF Elite
  • SF Glens
  • Silicon Valley SA
  • Total Futbol Academy
  • Ventura County Fusion

Colorado

  • Colorado Rapids
  • Real Colorado

Connecticut

  • Beachside of Connecticut
  • Oakwood Soccer Club

District of Columbia

  • D.C. United

Florida

  • Chargers Soccer Club
  • Florida Rush Soccer Club
  • IMG Academy
  • Inter Miami CF
  • Jacksonville FC
  • Miami Rush Kendall SC
  • Orlando City SC
  • South Florida Football Academy
  • Tampa Bay United Rowdies
  • West Florida Flames
  • Weston FC

Georgia

  • Atlanta United
  • Lanier Soccer Academy
  • Southern Soccer Academy

Illinois

  • Chicago FC United
  • Chicago Fire FC
  • Sockers FC Chicago

Indiana

  • Indiana Fire Academy

Kansas

  • Sporting Kansas City

Massachusetts

  • FC Greater Boston Bolts
  • NEFC
  • New England Revolution
  • Valeo Futbol Club

Maryland

  • Baltimore Armour
  • Bethesda SC

Michigan

  • Michigan Wolves
  • VARDAR Soccer Club

Minnesota

  • Minnesota United FC
  • Shattuck-St. Mary's

Missouri

  • MLS St. Louis
  • Saint Louis FC

North Carolina

  • MLS Charlotte

New Hampshire

  • Seacoast United

New Jersey

  • Cedar Stars Academy Bergen
  • Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth
  • New York Red Bulls
  • Player Development Academy
  • TSF Academy

New York

  • Blau Weiss Gottschee
  • Empire United Soccer Academy
  • FC Westchester
  • Metropolitan Oval
  • New York City FC
  • New York Soccer Club

Ohio

  • Cincinnati United Premier Soccer Club
  • Columbus Crew SC
  • FC Cincinnati
  • Internationals

Ontario

  • Toronto FC

Oregon

  • Portland Timbers

Pennsylvania

  • FC Delco
  • PA Classics
  • Philadelphia Union

Quebec

  • Montreal Impact

Rhode Island

  • Bayside Futebol Club

Tennessee

  • Nashville SC

Texas

  • Austin FC
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo
  • RGV FC Toros Academy
  • RISE Soccer Club
  • San Antonio FC
  • Solar Soccer Club

Utah

  • Real Salt Lake

Washington

  • Seattle Sounders FC
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