FC Copa is taking not one, but two major steps in 2021.

The club will field a men’s team in USL League Two and the the FC Copa Academy will join the USL Academy.

The USL team will be called New Jersey Copa FC.

The official announcement was made by the 17-year-old club Wednesday.

New Jersey Copa FC will compete in the Metropolitan Division starting next season, becoming the third club from the Garden State to join the league this year, following 2020 after Morris Elite SC and Real Central New Jersey Soccer.

“FC Copa is yet another fantastic addition to the league from New Jersey this year,” USL League Two vice president Joel Nash said in a statement. “Given the club’s already-excellent track record in developing local young talents for the next level, I’m confident Copa FC will hit the ground running in League Two and that players from New Jersey and beyond will see the team as a valuable competitive platform.”

Founded in 2004, FC Copa is anchored by a growing youth academy that features locations in Rutgers University (Middlesex County), Millstone (Monmouth County) and Brooklyn (New York City). The club’s League Two team will be based in Middlesex County.

“USL League Two is the perfect platform to showcase our 17 years of developing the entire player throughout all stages of the academy,” FC Copa founder and executive director of coaching Roberto Aguas said. “League Two provides best-in-class regional competition for a mix of our homegrown FC Copa male players and pre-professional players throughout our area. We are thrilled to be joining the USL family.”

FC Copa Academy teams have appeared in 26 state, 19 regional and seven national finals. The club boasts one of the highest college placement rates in the country, having placed over 350 students into more 181 collegiate programs and developed more than 24 professional players, including 2019 Championship defender of the year Joe Greenspan.

The club’s USL Academy side will provide a bridge between the organization’s youth sides and its League Two squad.

“The USL Academy has started with an incredible foundation of other prestigious academies across the country,” Aguas said. “The platform that the USL Academy will provide offers incredible opportunities for us against marquee opponents while providing valuable experience for our players to progress to our USL League Two team.”

The addition of FC Copa seemed like a natural marriage with the USL Academy.

“FC Copa has an excellent track record when it comes to youth development and is well-respected throughout its entire region,” USL Senior director of youth development Liam O’Connell. “I’m excited to see their organization simultaneously announce new teams in both USL Academy and USL League Two, and I’m confident that between those two platforms, the club will form a well-defined pathway to help its players reach their goals.”