Major League Soccer took the next step towards developing the talent of tomorrow as they introduced its new professional development league, MLS NEXT Pro.
The league will feature 21 clubs in its inaugural season in 2022 and will primarily feature development teams from MLS clubs. New England Revolution II will open their third year of competitive action in MLS NEXT Pro after spending their first two years in USL League One.
Since its inception, Revs II has seen 30 players make their professional debuts, including 18 current or former Revolution Academy players.
MLS NEXT Pro also features the development clubs across MLS in places like Dallas, Portland, Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, Miami, New York City, Toronto, and more split across the Eastern and Western Conference.
Amongst the established MLS development teams, MLS NEXT Pro will also see independent pro clubs across the country join. Rochester NY FC, co-owned by Leicester City striker Jamey Vardy, will become the first independent club to join the league as it will be amongst the inaugural clubs in 2022.
With the formation of MLS NEXT Pro, the league looks to generate progress as it continues looking to build the sport across North America while empowering local communities, establishing a platform for innovation and diversity, and completing the professional pathway from MLS NEXT to Major League Soccer.
In a statement, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “MLS NEXT Pro is a new professional league that establishes a unified and accelerated professional pathway between our academics and the first teams of MLS and independent clubs throughout North America. Off the field, MLS NEXT Pro will provide a platform to drive forward diversity, develop and nurture talent, whole bringing soccer to new markets and new fans around the country.”
The 2022 season is slated to begin play in March of 2022 as it concludes play with the crowning of the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Championship in September of 2022.