MLS announces 95 initial clubs in new player development league

MLS announced on Wednesday the 95 initial members of its new player development.

They include all 30 MLS teams -- the 26 current teams and four expansion teams -- and 65 non-MLS teams, almost all former members of the Development Academy, which U.S. Soccer shut down weeks ago.

The age groups are expected to be the same as the Development Academy operated: U-18/19, U-16/17, U-15, U-14 and U-13.

The ECNL Boys previously announced the addition of upwards of 20 DA teams, many of them long-established programs. Geography remains as issue in large parts of the Midwest and West with great distances between programs, but the one area where there is currently a big hole for the MLS league is in the South Atlantic region extending from Virginia to Georgia.


Connecticut (2)
Beachside of Connecticut
Oakwood SC
Massachusetts (4)
FC Greater Boston Bolts
New England Revolution (MLS)
Valeo FC
New Hampshire (1)
Seacoast United
Maryland (2)
Baltimore Armour
Bethesda SC
New York (6)
Blau Weiss Gottschee
Empire United Soccer Academy
Metropolitan Oval
New York SC
FC Westchester
New Jersey (5)
Cedar Stars Academy Bergen
Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth
NY Red Bulls (MLS)
Player Development Academy
TSF Academy
Pennsylvania (3)
FC Delco
PA Classics
Philadelphia Union (MLS)
Rhode Island (1)
Bayside FC
Washington, D.C. (1)
D.C. United (MLS)
Ontario (1)
Toronto FC (MLS)
Quebec (1)

Montreal Impact (MLS)


Florida (11)
Chargers SC
Florida Rush SC
IMG Academy
Inter Miami (MLS)
Jacksonville FC
Miami Rush Kendall SC
Orlando City (MLS)
South Florida Football Academy
Tampa Bay United Rowdies (USL Championship)
West Florida Flames
Weston FC
Georgia (3)

Atlanta United (MLS)
Lanier Soccer Academy
Southern Soccer Academy
North Carolina (1)
Charlotte MLS (MLS 2021)
Tennessee (1)
Nashville SC (MLS)


Illinois (3)
Chicago FC United
Chicago Fire (MLS)
Sockers FC Chicago
Indiana (1)
Indiana Fire Academy
Kansas (1)
Sporting KC
Michigan (2)
Michigan Wolves
Vardar SC
Minnesota (2)
Minnesota United (MLS)
Shattuck-St. Mary's
Missouri (2)
St. Louis MLS (MLS 2022)
Saint Louis FC (USL Championship)
Ohio (4)
FC Cincinnati (MLS)
Cincinnati United Premier SC
Columbus Crew (MLS)


Texas (7)
Austin FC (MLS 2021)
FC Dallas (MLS)
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
RGV FC Toros Academy (USL Championship)
San Antonio FC (USL Championship)
Solar SC


Arizona (4)
Barca Residency Academy
SC Del Sol
Phoenix Rising FC (USL Championship)
RSL Arizona
California, Southern (12)
Albion SC
Chula Vista FC
City SC
LA Galaxy (MLS)
LA United Futbol Academy
LA Surf SC
Murrieta Surf SC
Santa Barbara SC
Total Futbol Academy
Ventura County Fusion
California, Northern (8)
Ballistic United
De Anza Force
Sacramento Republic (MLS 2022/(USL Championship)
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
SF Elite
SF Glens
Silicon Valley SA
Colorado (2)
Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Real Colorado
Oregon (1)
Portland Timbers (MLS)
Utah (1)
Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Washington (1)
Seattle Sounders
British Columbia (1)
Vancouver Whitecaps

19 comments about "MLS announces 95 initial clubs in new player development league".
  1. Bob Ashpole, May 13, 2020 at 2:08 p.m.

    Money is driving this, not player development. 

    Just changing hats--same problems under the hat.

  2. frank schoon, May 13, 2020 at 4:12 p.m.

    NO CHANGE here in improving player development, just a new color wrapping. And  one really has to be naive to think that the switch going from DA to ECNL is going remarkable improve the player development....It is the same type of people with the same type of license , follow the same overal ideas  about player development with small differences or tweaks here and there.  NOTHING NEW AND EXCITING HERE....same ole' ,same ole, major snooze.....

  3. jay hondo, May 13, 2020 at 4:32 p.m.

    Shouldn't a relatively big city
    Iike El Paso in talent-rich Texas have an academy?

  4. Paul Berry replied, May 14, 2020 at 7:17 a.m.

    El Paso Locomotive FC has a youth academy. 

  5. William Allen, May 13, 2020 at 9:19 p.m.

    How embarrassing that MLS has no clue where Charlotte is on a map, what a joke

  6. Paul Berry, May 14, 2020 at 7:19 a.m.

    So the top-flight domestic league now owns youth development, just like in every other country. 

  7. John Lo, May 14, 2020 at 7:46 a.m.

    Thought I saw something that MLS is only committed to 15s and 17s. And there will be very few games between MLS and non-MLS

  8. Wallace Wade, May 14, 2020 at 7:58 a.m.

    Lots of "big holes" Paul!!!! Not one Club in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama. 

  9. frank schoon replied, May 14, 2020 at 10:28 a.m.

    Be Thankful and do it your own way....

  10. Ira Jersey replied, May 14, 2020 at 12:27 p.m.

    Presumably they'll have teams in the USL Academy League.  

  11. Guy Walling, May 14, 2020 at 8:29 a.m.

    This is definitely a great move in the right direction regarding development! I have two boys that play in the DA and having the MLS take over, loosening the restrictions and allowing the players to possibly play H.S. soccer too will only benefit the development of the player, especially from a psychological development standpoint. 

  12. humble 1 replied, May 14, 2020 at 11:21 a.m.

    I don't think the U15 and U17 MLS Academies will allow players to play HS.  We'll see.  This detail has not been revealed.

  13. Yellowjacket 96, May 14, 2020 at 8:43 a.m.

    Any ideas as how travel will be handled?  For example, seems like there is only 1 non MLS club in Colorado and Minnesota.  If you are a parent of a kid on these teams, is the expectaion really that your paying for your kid to fly to a different city every other week for a game?   

  14. Guy Walling, May 14, 2020 at 9:34 a.m.

    Yellowjacket96, yes travel will be an issue in certain areas. MLS recognizes this and that is perhaps they are looking into playing outside the league too. Fortunately, we play in Florida where there is already 11 MLS Elite clubs on the list. 

  15. Goal Goal, May 14, 2020 at 11:35 a.m.

    Same unqualified coaching.  Garbage in is garbage out.  All this time and we still can't identify the problem.

  16. Raffi Safarian, May 14, 2020 at 1:04 p.m.

    One has to really think that if a parents can feasibly have their kids to participate in traveling league such as ECNL or MLS. In addition to added costs, additional logistics such as Covid-19 distruption exists for next 1-2 season. It will be interesting to see if MLS Youth League can have a safe flight for next two season.

  17. Chris Pacey, May 14, 2020 at 1:22 p.m.

    The MLS should just worry about creating the ultimate top flight youth development program, and not concern themselves with what is happening outside of their organization.   Those non-MLS youth clubs can either create a new alternative or assimilate into existing leagues or governing bodies.   The MLS youth academies would then be the pinnacle for players U14 and older, and all players regardless of what club they play for can strive to become part of an MLS youth program.  

    Adding 65 more youth clubs to this basically recreates the failed USDA structure.  Let MLS handle the ultimate top tier youth player development.  They have the supposedly deep pockets to do so. All the other youth clubs do not have the funding to do it the same way as the MLS clubs so therefore should never be put on the same level as them. 

  18. Wallace Wade, May 14, 2020 at 1:28 p.m.

    MLS Academy Programs don't have anymore $ than many long established Independent Clubs. 

  19. Wallace Wade, May 14, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.

    So, Player Development is all about "Deep Pockets"? Clueless

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