NEW YORK – Major League Soccer Tuesday 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 17, MLS is encouraging clubs to provide their submission prior to Saturday, July 4 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, MLS vice president and technical director of MLS player development Fred Lipka said in a statement. “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.”

CLICK HERE to access the elite player development platform club application

Additional information regarding founding members and its governance structure can be found HERE.

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