MLS NEXT Pro reveals club alignment and schedule for inaugural season
NEW YORK – MLS NEXT Pro announced details of the league’s inaugural season schedule which kicks off on March 25. Highlighted by regional rivalries and marquee matchups, the 2022 schedule will deliver a competitive season of professional soccer to communities from coast to coast.
All games will be streamed live on mlsnextpro.com. In addition, adidas, a founding partner of MLS NEXT Pro, will provide the Official Match Ball for all MLS NEXT Pro games.
MLS NEXT Pro will kick off its inaugural season with St. Louis CITY2 hosting the League’s first independent Club, Rochester New York FC at Saint Louis University’s Hermann Stadium (8 p.m. ET, mlsnextpro.com).
For St. Louis CITY2 and its fans, this game signifies the first step in a culmination of efforts to bring Major League Soccer to this legendary soccer community, in advance of St. Louis CITY SC’s MLS launch in 2023. For Rochester New York FC, it represents a return to professional action for this former U.S. Open Cup championship club.
The kickoff weekend will also feature the following games across the league (all times Eastern):
- March 26 Orlando City B vs. Chicago Fire FC II (3 p.m.)
- March 26 Inter Miami II vs. Crew 2 (6 p.m.)
- March 26 North Texas SC vs. MNUFC2 (9 p.m.)
- March 26 Houston Dynamo 2 vs. Whitecaps FC 2 (9 p.m.)
- March 27 Philadelphia Union II vs. FC Cincinnati 2 (2 p.m.)
- March 27 Tacoma Defiance vs. Real Monarchs (3 p.m.)
- March 27 NYCFC II vs. New England Revolution II (5 p.m.)
- March 27 Colorado Rapids 2 vs. Sporting KC II (6 p.m.)
Each MLS NEXT Pro team will compete in 24 regular season games, 12 home and 12 away, across 26-weeks, culminating on September 18 with MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day.
Prioritizing regional play, teams have been divided into two conferences, an Eastern and Western Conference, comprised of two Divisions in each.
Each team will play divisional opponents two to three times, as well as the other teams in their conference at least twice. A total of four non-conference matchups will take place during the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season.
A total of eight teams, four from each conference, will qualify for the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. This includes the top team from each division, and the two teams with the next most points in each conference.
More information about the Playoff Format and Schedule will be announced at a later date.
“We are excited to announce the 2022 inaugural MLS NEXT Pro regular season schedule,” said MLS NEXT Pro Senior Vice President, Competition and Operations Ali Curtis. “This season will deliver dynamic professional soccer featuring the stars of today and tomorrow. As we move closer to the start date, we are looking forward to releasing additional elements of the competition.”
adidas the Official Match Ball Provider for MLS NEXT Pro
adidas, a founding partner of MLS NEXT Pro, will provide the Official Match Ball for all MLS NEXT Pro games. The league will utilize the same match ball that will be used in MLS.
As a founding partner of MLS NEXT Pro, adidas will continue to expand upon its deep relationship with MLS and MLS NEXT. The partnership affirms adidas’ commitment to the growth and advancement of the sport of soccer in local communities throughout the United States, Canada and globally.
MLS NEXT Pro will host Rivalry Week on July 10 – 16, 2022, coinciding with the MLS Heineken® Rivalry Week, providing compelling storylines and showcasing talent across the league. These matchups include established first team rivalries such as the following (all times Eastern):
- July 10 Timbers2 vs. Tacoma Defiance (10 p.m.)
- July 10 Orlando City B vs. Inter Miami II (7 p.m.)
- July 15 North Texas SC vs. Houston Dynamo 2 (9 p.m.)
- July 16 Crew 2 vs. FC Cincinnati 2 (7 p.m.)
- July 16 Timbers2 vs. Whitecaps FC 2 (10 p.m.)
In addition, Rivalry Week will feature a new rivalry between the New York clubs:
- July 16 NYCFC II vs. Rochester New York FC (7 p.m.)
Streaming Information and Games of the Week
Fans will be able to watch every game of the MLS NEXT Pro inaugural season via live stream on mlsnextpro.com. In addition, more than 30 games will be billed as “Games of the Week”, featuring enhanced productions. Each MLS NEXT Pro club will have at least one home game featured, and all playoff games will be enhanced productions.
Conference and Divisional Alignment
For 2022, the league will be separated into two conferences – Western and Eastern – with each conference comprised of two divisions. Below is the divisional breakout of the MLS NEXT Pro teams:
|Western Conference||Eastern Conference|
|Frontier Division||Northeast Division|
|Colorado Rapids 2||New England Revolution II|
|North Texas SC||NYCFC II|
|Houston Dynamo 2||Philadelphia Union II|
|Sporting KC II||Rochester New York FC|
|St. Louis CITY2|
|Pacific Division||Central Division|
|Real Monarchs||Chicago Fire FC II|
|Earthquakes II||FC Cincinnati 2|
|Tacoma Defiance||Crew 2|
|Timbers2||Inter Miami II|
|Whitecaps FC 2||Orlando City B|