NEW YORK – The inaugural MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase kick off on Friday, June 25 in the Dallas Metroplex with 128 teams competing to crown champions in four age groups (Under-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19).
The playoffs will be a single-elimination competition with the top 32 teams in each age group qualifying based on their performances during the regular season. The event caps off an inaugural season that included more than 3,500 matches. During the playoffs, 27 matches will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com with six matches taking place on FC Dallas’ stadium field in Frisco, Texas.
MLS NEXT used to be the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
The showcase will provide those teams that did not qualify for the playoffs with a platform to play three matches, with select players chosen to participate in the MLS NEXT Showcase Best Of matches.
With a focus on talent identification, every game will be filmed and MLS NEXT will produce a post-event technical report and analysis. Major League Soccer Greats, former MLS players, will serve as Match Evaluators for this week’s event, 6assessing the quality of play and identifying top talent.
Match Evaluators include former MLS and USMNT defender Greg Garza and midfielder Justin Mapp as well as midfielder Andy Williams who played in more than 250 matches. The list also includes Stephen McCarthy and Chad McCarty, who was captain of the 2000 USMNT Olympic team. Garza and McCarthy played a portion of their youth careers for Texas United (formerly the Dallas Texans), which was accepted into MLS NEXT for the 2021-2022 season. Also in attendance will be U.S. Soccer’s director of talent identification, Tony Lepore, youth national team coaches, and college coaches and scouts.