A large contingent of MLS NEXT youth clubs are leading the launch of the National Academy League, which will begin play in Fall 2023.
Founding member clubs consist largely of current MLS NEXT member clubs who are not the official academies of Major League Soccer (MLS) organizations. In total, 54 clubs are featured on the first public list of National Academy League members.
The National Academy League’s initial membership spans from the Northeast down to the Southeast. Several high profile clubs listed as founding members include Players Development Academy (PDA), IMG Academy, Bethesda SC, three Cedars Stars Academy branches, Tampa Bay United and New England FC (NEFC), among many others.
Only one member of the founding group – Orlando City Soccer School Seminole – features the branding of an MLS club, and is not the official Academy program for the Orlando City SC MLS team.
Each of the National Academy League’s conferences will feature competition across the U13-U19 age groups. Directors of Coaching within each conference will have the autonomy to make additional sporting decisions. For example, adding additional ages or crafting specific events or formats that enhance their players’ growth opportunities.
Participating clubs will also have the opportunity to attend the NAL competition as part of the IMG Cup College Showcase in December and compete for a National Academy League Championship in June 2024. The league’s official website has been launched at nationalacademyleague.com.
See below for a look at each of the league’s five founding conferences:
New England Conference: Boston Bolts, IFA, NEFC, Seacoast United, Valeo, Bayside FC, NY Rush Select, SDA, NY Elite
Northeast Conference: BW Gottschee, Cedar Stars Academy North Bergen, Beachside SC of CT, FC Westchester, Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth, TSF Academy, Ironbound SC, New York SC, DUSC, Met Oval, Barca Academy Pro, Cedar Stars Academy Hudson Valley, FA Euro, LI Slammers
Mid-Atlantic Conference: Alexandria SA, Achilles, SACBA, Bethesda SC, FC DELCO, PA Classics, PDA, Real Jersey, Sporting Athletic, SYC
Southeast Conference: Hoover-Vestavia Soccer, Inter Atlanta FC, Kalonji Soccer Academy, Lanier Soccer Academy, Southern Soccer Academy, Wake FC, Triangle United SC
Florida Conference: Florida Rush, Tampa Bay United, Weston FC, Miami Rush Kendall SC, West Florida Flames, Jacksonville FC, IMG Academy, United Soccer Alliance, Ideasport Soccer Academy, Chargers SC, Plantation FC Academy, FC Tampa Rangers, SFFA, Orlando City Seminole.
Source : Soccerwire