MLS NEXT has opened the application process for the 2021-22 season, it was announced Friday.

The league is the former U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which was run by U.S. Soccer before it stopping running the platform in 2020.

MLS NEXT membership currently includes 113 of the top youth clubs in North America, including all 30 MLS academy clubs, and a vast majority of the players in the current U.S. and Canadian youth national team pools. As the top elite boys’ soccer platform in the U.S. and Canada, admission into the program will be very selective. Clubs will be evaluated based on the implementation of a defined soccer philosophy, quality of coaching staff, record of elite player production, and professionalism of daily environment. Also of vital importance is the club’s ability to provide low or no-cost options for players to participate on MLS NEXT teams, creating opportunities for a more inclusive player pool.

Applications will be reviewed by MLS NEXT staff. Admissions will be announced in three phases, starting with Early Admissions in March, Regular Admissions in May, and Waitlist Admissions in July.

“We have been impressed by the efforts of our current MLS NEXT clubs to tackle the challenges faced during this first year, and we are confident they will build on the momentum of the current generation of youth players forging their path to the next level, whether it be college, MLS, or National Teams,” MLS NEXT technical director Fred Lipka said in a statement. “We are also open to work with additional elite youth clubs who share our goal of creating the best player development platform in North America.”

CLICK HERE to access the MLS NEXT club application for 2021-22.

The inaugural MLS NEXT season is currently underway having recently completed over 1,000 games during the Fall at the U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-19 age groups. MLS NEXT is following a schedule consistent with their Return to Play protocols as well as local, state, and federal health guidelines in an attempt to eliminate flights and minimize travel and hotel stays. To supplement their competition schedule, MLS NEXT has provided virtual education opportunities for players, coaches, and parents.

More information about MLS NEXT can be found HERE. Further updates about the 2021-22 Season will be available in the coming weeks.