MLS expands youth league to 113 clubs, names leadership groups and reveals governing structure

The MLS youth league that arose in the wake of the U.S. Soccer DA's demise has added 19 clubs for a total of 113. They're comprised of 30 professional MLS academies, five USL academies and 78 non-pro academies -- for a total of more than 11,000 players. There will be six age groups: U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19. MLS also announced the league's governance structure.

Go HERE for full list of member clubs.

“The spirit of this platform is ensuring representation across the entire soccer landscape and at every level of the governance structure," said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development. "Seeking input from all members and catering to players from diverse backgrounds is at the core of this platform. We are excited to welcome these academies and thousands of elite players to join our Founding Members in this competition with the first stage of expansion and look forward to additional expansion in the years to come."

Conference Chair leaders will serve as representatives for all clubs within their divisions. Leaders in the five Working Groups will submit recommendations and policies on behalf of all member clubs to the Executive Committee, Platform Management, and MLS League Office "for implementation into the platform." Representatives from MLS and other clubs will comprise the Executive Committee.

Conference Chairs
Western
Dennis Sanchez (MLS Sacramento)
Gerson Perez (Silicon Valley SA)
Tom Spall (Real Salt Lake)
Derek Armstrong (Nomads)

Central
Paul Holocher (Houston Dynamo)
Danny Bills (Real Colorado)
Jamie Smith (Nashville SC)
David Richardson (Sockers FC)

Eastern
Marcelo Neveleff (Orlando City SC)
Roberto Lopez (Chargers SC)
Dan Lock (Charlotte FC)
John Ellinger (Baltimore Armour)
Anthony Capotosto (Toronto FC)
Chris Apple (Empire United SA)

Working Groups
Competition
Sean McCafferty (New York Red Bulls, N.J.)
Robert Elliott (FC Delco, Penn.)
Cedric Cattenoy (Chicago Fire)
Lars Richter (Michigan Wolves)
Chris Cartlidge (Colorado Rapids)
Paolo Carbone (Breakers, Calif.)

Environment
Anthony Dixon (Cedar Stars Academy Bergen, N.J.)
Jamie Smith (Nashville SC, Tenn.)
John Burklo (RISE Soccer Club, Texas)
Todd Saldaña (LAFC, Calif.)
Derek Armstrong (Nomads, Calif.)

Individual Growth
Darren Powell (Inter Miami CF)
Steve Klein (PA Classics, Penn.)
Corey Wray (Columbus Crew, Ohio)
Nick Evans (San Antonio FC, Texas)
Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Jerry Losson (Ballistic United, Calif.)

Talent ID
Dave Sanford (D.C. United)
Peter Decker (Seacoast United, N.H.)
Tyson Wahl (Austin FC)
Sean Bushéy (Shattuck-St. Mary's, Minn)
Henry Brauner (Seattle Sounders)
Gerson Perez (Silicon Valley SA, Calif.)
Brent Erwin (RSL Arizona, Ariz.)

Commercial
Dan Lock (Charlotte FC, N.C.)
Alex Chater (IMG Academy, Fla.)
Dale Schilly (Saint Louis FC)
Ryan Miller (Portland Timbers)
Noah Gins (Albion SC, Calif.)

* * * * * * * * * *

The MLS Player Development Department admitted the 19 additional academies based on geographical considerations, and evaluated on "their inclusivity of players from all backgrounds and commitment to the highest level of player development standards, including":

Player Identification (pro pathway, player sourcing strategy, history of player development: national team or collegiate).
Club Player Development Philosophy and Methodology.
Consistency and Relevancy of Coaches and Technical Staff Standards and Club Projects.
Development and Performance Environment.

MLS's announcement noted that the competition schedule will be announced at a later date.

4 comments about "MLS expands youth league to 113 clubs, names leadership groups and reveals governing structure".
  1. Wallace Wade, August 5, 2020 at 9:18 a.m.

    Literally no change geographically to the original failed DA system. If your not on one coast or another, with a smattering in Texas, your screwed

  2. Skip Gilbert, August 5, 2020 at 4:15 p.m.

    That’s where their partnership with US Youth Soccer comes in. To allow access to teams and players in every state and in coordination with our ODP platform. Give it time to build out but it’s there behind the scenes.

  3. Roy Pfeil replied, August 5, 2020 at 8:45 p.m.

    I do agree with Wallace...we have players traveling 2 and 3 hours for practices 2 and 3  times a week...I am curious to see what the net effect of ODP will be...

  4. R M, August 5, 2020 at 10:49 p.m.

    Governance is great but when does this league actually get rolling? Most of the MLS academies haven't even organize their teams, coaches, tryouts, fields, or hinted at training. Many of these MLS teams are keeping their academy staff and families in the dark. At this rate these programs won't be playing any league games until spring of 2021 if at all.  That's a long time for "elite" kids to sit around without competition and limited team communication. 

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