Elite Academy League Overview
The Elite Academy (EA) League is a boys youth soccer league in the United States that aims to provide a high level of competition and development opportunities for young players. The league is made up of clubs from across the country and features teams in age groups ranging from U-13 to U-19.
Launched in 2020, the Elite Academy joins other male-centric youth leagues including MLS NEXT and ECNL, both of which have made tremendous progress over the last few years.
Since its inaugural season, EA has been executing its expansion plan to bring more opportunities to players in focused North American regions. Many teams involved in EA also have MLS NEXT teams which is a higher level of competition.
What’s the benefit of soccer clubs having EA, MLS NEXT and/or ECNL? It provides more opportunities for players to pursue their soccer goals within an organization. For example, if a player excels in the EA league, they may find an opportunity to play on the top-level MLS NEXT team for their age group.
The Elite Academy League is known for its focus on player development and its commitment to providing a pathway for young players to reach the highest levels of the sport. The league is designed to provide a challenging and competitive environment for players, while also emphasizing the importance of sportsmanship, fair play, and respect for opponents and officials.
Conferences & Teams
In the most recent season, there are seven U.S. conferences for the Elite Academy League. These include:
- Southwest Desert
- Northwest Nor Cal
- Northwest Pacific
Some of the top soccer clubs involved in the Elite Academy league include:
- Chicago Fire Youth SC
- Minneapolis United
- Orlando City
- Juventus Academy
- PSG Academy
- Capital City SC
- Kansas Rush
- Colorado Rush
- Albion SC
- RSL Arizona
- BC United
- Barca Residency
- Murrieta Soccer Academy
- Clovis Crossfire
The Elite Academy League is split into localized divisions, with teams from multiple states competing against each other.
Like most youth soccer leagues, the EA season typically runs from September to June, with a break during the winter months. Teams play a regular season schedule, followed by playoffs and a championship game to determine the league champion.
In addition to the regular season schedule, the EA also hosts showcases, tournaments, and national events throughout the year to provide additional competition and exposure for players.
These events are typically attended by college coaches and scouts. Some of these talented players may be overshadowed by players from MLS NEXT and ECNL so providing an environment to showcase their skills is very beneficial.
Started in the fall of 2022, the Elite Academy launched EA2 in the Southwest Conference. EA2 served as a testing ground for clubs that aspire to join the prestigious Elite Academy League in Southern California. The league adopted many of the same standards that have contributed to the success of the EA over the past two years.
At the end of the season, the club that has the highest PPG for its six teams (U13-U19) will be promoted to the Elite Academy Southwest Conference for the 2023/2024 season.
The founding members of the conference are:
- Socal Elite FC
- Albion SC
- Oaks FC
- L.A. United Futbol Academy
- L.A. Surf SC
- Mission Viejo FC
- Sand & Surf SC
- California Rush Soccer Club
If your soccer organization is interested in joining the Elite Academy League, head over to their application page to view the process and deadlines.