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MLS Opens Application Process for Top Youth Clubs to Join New Elite Player Development Platform

June 30, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

NEW YORK (June 30, 2020) - Major League Soccer today announced the opening of the application process for its newly created elite youth development platform's inaugural 2020 season. In order to maintain a competition platform that provides geographic balance, MLS will be adding a limited number of additional clubs.

Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to the highest level of player development and be inclusive of players from all backgrounds. Applicants must meet standards consistent with the current 94 members including:

Player Identification (Pro Pathway, Player Sourcing Strategy, History of Player Development - National Team or Collegiate)

Club Player Development Philosophy

Quality of Coaches and Technical Staff

Development and Performance Environment

While applications will be accepted through July 17th, MLS is encouraging clubs to provide their submission prior to Saturday, July 4th for early consideration.

"Following an exciting launch to the elite youth development platform, MLS is looking to expand its inaugural 2020 season of competition with additional elite-level clubs. The existing members of this competition platform are committed to building a collaborative and integrated environment and we're excited at the prospect of strengthening our foundation with clubs who share similar values," said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development.

Launched last month, the new platform will ensure the players and clubs impacted by the closure of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy will continue to have the opportunity to participate in the highest-level youth competitions. The new platform, which will include more than 8,000 players throughout the U.S. and Canada, will consist of elite year-round competition, as well as player identification initiatives, coaching education opportunities, and additional programming to create the premier player development environment. Admitted clubs will join a platform that will operate with a groundbreaking governance structure that promotes collaboration, innovation and input across all areas of the soccer landscape.

More information about the competition structure as well as the platform's official brand will be announced at a later date.

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