Eight newly-admitted clubs will join MLS NEXT for the 2022-23 season, the league announced Tuesday.

Two California-based clubs – Sacramento United and FC Golden State Force – will provide a full pathway for youth players, competing in all levels of MLS NEXT competition ranging from U13 to U19 play.

New clubs

The full list of the eight newly-added clubs includes:

“As MLS NEXT further cements its position as the premier youth development league in North America, we are continuously evaluating opportunities to add to our rich talent pool,” MLS Vice President, Player and Youth Development Fred Lipka said in a statement.

“Through an extensive review process, we identified eight clubs who best embodied our goals at MLS NEXT, including providing access to historically underserved areas of the United States, expanding our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and reducing the financial burden for the highest potential players in our country. We are excited for these clubs to compete in MLS NEXT and to further enhance our elite player pathway throughout North America.”

San Francisco Seals, founded in 1981, are one of the most storied youth programs in the country and helped develop former MLS standouts C.J. Brown and Calen Carr. Meanwhile, FA Euro NY is the first MLS NEXT club located in Brooklyn proper. Other regions represented are the Southwest, Southern California and the Southeast.

Clubs were evaluated on several key factors including the implementation of a defined soccer philosophy, quality of coaching staff, a record of top player production and professionalism of daily environment. Also of vital importance is the club’s ability to provide low or no-cost options for players to participate on MLS NEXT teams, creating opportunities for a more inclusive player pool and promoting and embodying the diversity, equity, and inclusion values of MLS NEXT.

MLS NEXT size, history

Membership for the 2021-22 MLS NEXT season includes 133 clubs, 598 teams and over 12,000 players across the United States and Canada.

Launched in 2020 to transform youth soccer in North America, MLS NEXT players have access to the highest level of competition, training and personal development opportunities that will prepare them for their futures, both in soccer and in life.

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