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MLS NEXT Apr 24, 2024

MLS NEXT announces addition of 8 expansion clubs for 2024-25 campaign

NEW YORK – MLS NEXT today announced eight new clubs as part of the program’s expansion for the 2024-25 season. Each new member is committed to fostering elite player development with a local community framework aimed at nurturing well-rounded individuals. All eight clubs will begin play in the fall of 2024.

Two clubs – AC River and Hoosier Premier Academy – will provide a full player pathway, competing in all age groups of MLS NEXT competition from U13 to U19.

With the addition of Southern States Soccer (Mississippi), MLS NEXT will also now feature teams from 35 different states, three Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia.

Connecticut United Football Club (U14, U16) will join the previously announced Carolina Core FC (U13, U14) as independent clubs in MLS NEXT Pro that will have their fully-funded academies participate in MLS NEXT. Chattanooga FC, which started competing in MLS NEXT Pro in 2024 as an independent club, will join MLS NEXT in 2025-26.

The eight expansion clubs who will debut in 2024-25 are:

“At their core, each expansion club has their own unique commitment to player development through high-level leadership and an emphasis on the holistic growth of each player, coach and staff member,” said MLS Executive Vice President Charles Altchek. “We are proud to add these eight clubs and grateful for the overwhelming interest we received to join MLS NEXT in 2024-25. MLS NEXT is the most elite player development program in North America and a top program globally.”

MLS NEXT annually executes a rigorous expansion process to select new clubs to compete in the upcoming season. Several factors were considered, including top-notch training plans, experienced coaching, effective player ID and recruitment, high-quality facilities, cutting-edge technological opportunities, and defined player pathways. Off the field, clubs were required to demonstrate a mission-aligned culture with core values, overall community engagement, holistic development strategies, a strong commitment to access and representation, robust financial aid and scholarship programs, and a forward-thinking leadership team. These characteristics ensured that chosen clubs aligned with MLS NEXT’s standards for accessibility, representation, and player development within North America’s most elite platform for youth soccer.

MLS NEXT 2024-25 Expansion Clubs

AC River (San Antonio, Texas) – U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U19

AC River brings a new kind of soccer experience to young player in Texas. The club works to raise the bar and give all athletes a better chance of learning and enjoying the great game of soccer thanks to an 82,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. AC River also offers vital programs like individualized player performance plans, coaching education sessions and access to cutting edge technological innovations.

Carolina Core FC (High Point, N.C.) – U13, U14

As part of MLS NEXT Pro’s Carolina Core FC, the Carolina Core Academy will be a fully funded program for players, which aims to break down the financial barriers typically associated with high-level youth soccer and provide young players with an unprecedented opportunity to pursue their dreams. Operated under the Carolina Core Soccer Foundation, the Carolina Core FC Academy is committed to creating a level playing field where every child, regardless of their socioeconomic background, can chase their aspirations of a professional soccer career.

Chattanooga FC (Chattanooga, Tenn.) – Beginning play in 2025-26

Chattanooga Football Club began play in MLS NEXT Pro starting in 2024 and the Chattanooga FC Academy will join MLS NEXT in 2025-26. The academy serves players from kindergarten through 12th grade, and is one of the region’s most successful youth soccer clubs, giving players a pathway from rec soccer to competitive soccer to college and professional soccer for players with that goal. CFC Academy develops soccer players of a wide range of ages and backgrounds through a unified system of coaches, teams, training, and facilities.

Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club (Aurora, Colo.) – U13, U14

Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club (CRYSC) is one of the country’s largest standalone youth soccer clubs, serving 12,000 players seasonally across 100 miles of Colorado. A core tenet of the club, “Developing Remarkable Coaches,” stands as a foundation for its annual investment of over $150,000 in coach education and development, including women leaders through their Next Wave Project . CRYSC provides over $400,000 in annual scholarships and pledges to never turn away a player due to financial challenges. With notable alumni like Darren Yapi and Oliver Larraz, CRYSC has a long track record of developing some of the top players throughout Colorado.

Connecticut United Football Club (Connecticut) – U14, U16

CT United Academy is on a mission to break down barriers and empower players from all backgrounds to excel on and off the field. Founded in 2024, CT United Academy is a proud member of MLS NEXT and is the only free soccer academy in Connecticut operated by a professional soccer team, CT United FC, which is owned by Connecticut Sports Group.

Downtown United Soccer Club (New York, N.Y.) – U13, U14

Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC) is the most comprehensive soccer club in New York City, serving approximately 5,000 participants annually in downtown Manhattan and the greater New York City area. By providing a world-class educational experience with state-of-the-art facilities, DUSC strives for their athletes to develop a lifelong love for the game and realize their full potential as both players and people. The club also offers one of the most impressive financial aid programs, in which they provided over $500,000 in aid over the last fiscal year.

Hoosier Premier Academy (Noblesville, Ind.) – U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U19

A collaboration between Hoosier FC and Indy Premier, Hoosier Premier Academy will serve cities across central Indiana in order to streamline the player pathway and development of young talent in the area. The club will strive to maintain a championship culture by providing a challenging environment that players will value because of unique personal relationships with staff and teammates. Hoosier Premier will have several top-notch facilities, a dedicated commitment to financial assistance, multiple community engagement initiatives, and guidance plans for all athletes looking to play professionally or in college.

Keystone FC (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) – U13, U14, U15

Located in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Keystone FC will join MLS NEXT in the Mid-Atlantic division at the U13, U14, and U15 age groups. One of the largest clubs in Pennsylvania, Keystone FC aims to develop high-quality soccer players by providing a comprehensive experience through the formation of the most competitive teams at each age and skill level. In order to develop high-quality players and people, the organization emphasizes the importance of community engagement, volunteering more than 2,000 hours since the start of 2021. Through community outreach and many other education and player care programs, Keystone FC provides players with one of the most comprehensive youth soccer experiences in the country.

Southern States Soccer (Hattiesburg, Miss.) – U13, U14, U15

Representing the first MLS NEXT club in Mississippi, Southern States Soccer has been the pinnacle of soccer in the state since it was founded in 2015. The club goes by the motto ‘Partum In Futurum’ or ‘Creating the Future’ as it attracts some of the top young talents from all across the southern United States. With a diverse and experienced group of coaches, Southern States Soccer promotes a positive culture for youth sports in an environment that teaches life lessons through the sport of soccer and nurturing a love of the game.