PILOT PROGRAM: NPSL starts U-19 league on the Gulf Coast

The National Premier Soccer League announced Thursday the launch of a pilot program on the Gulf Coast this fall, consisting of Under-19 players.

The U-19 pilot will be managed by the NPSL and will be affiliated with the United States Adult Soccer Association. It will run from September through November.

“The introduction of a U-19 pilot under the NPSL umbrella represents our commitment to grassroots soccer and supporting our teams’ growth potential.” NPSL chairman Kenny Farrell said in a statement. “This new venture positions our clubs to further refine the local pathway to the top level of soccer in their area. Players from all backgrounds will have access to a highly visible platform to showcase their talent – particularly in geographic areas where opportunities are limited.

“By giving players a legitimate local option to advance, it keeps them engaged with soccer at an affordable cost for families. The U-19 pilot will give NPSL teams the chance to develop their own academies or build relationships with existing programs.”

The participating teams include AFC Mobile, New Orleans Jesters, Pensacola FC and Port City FC.

“The NPSL U-19 pilot is a perfect representation of what the teams in our conference want from their academies: a direct relationship with a pathway to our senior team,” AFC Mobile co-owner Sean Landry said in a statement. “It’s exciting that the NPSL is providing new and challenging developmental opportunities for the young players in Mobile, on the Gulf Coast, and, hopefully soon, throughout the country.”

Each team will play a total of six games, three home and three away.

The gameday roster will consist of U-17, U-18 and U-19 players along with up to three overage players. More information, including the full schedule, will be released on NPSL.com in the coming weeks.