MLS NEXT Academies to Add U16?
(November 21, 2023) According to USMNTPROSPECTS on X/Twitter, MLS academies are in favor of transitioning from a U-15/U-17 format to a U-15, U-16, and U-18 format. This decision was made during a meeting of academy directors this week.
Efforts are being made to implement this change for the upcoming year, although there are several logistical challenges to address. These include integrating the new format with the MLS Next structure for non-MLS clubs, securing funding, and considering the impact on scouting, rosters, and coaching staff.
While the change was initially expected to take place in 2025-26, there is now growing optimism for it to be realized in 2024-25.
To be honest, I never really understood the reason why MLS academies didn’t have a U16 group. In our area, most of the players on the New England Revs U15 team had to find another club for U16 in hopes of possibly rejoining the Revs for U17. In my opinion, this was a lost year during an important year for soccer development.
There’s more to come on this development but it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for!