What is the MLS NEXT Youth Development Platform?
The MLS NEXT Youth Development Platform is a partnership between MLS and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best youth players in the U.S. with an environment designed to produce the next generation of college, professional and National team players. The Platform will consist of elite year-round competition, as well as player identification initiatives, coaching education opportunities, and additional programming to create the premier player development environment.
With a focus on maximizing each player’s potential, the new development platform will not only provide high-level, year-round competition for players, but will provide important programming, education and innovation in the key areas of player development:
- Player Identification & Recruitment
- Commitment to Player Development
We are focused on delivering world-class player development for the top talent in the U.S. and Canada. This requires a commitment to the central areas of player development:
The rules, regulations and format of MLS NEXT competitions are designed with the best interest of the player’s development. While team success is important and will be rewarded, the primary objective of the platform is to push individuals outside of their comfort zone, accelerate their growth and showcase their talents.
The daily environment is where the majority of development takes place. Quality coaching at high frequency with top players in high performance environments will better prepare players for meaningful competition. As one of the few year-round, domestic youth training programs, MLS NEXT not only provides high quality training environments, but more repetitions in those environments than any league at any level in the U.S. and Canada.
High quality coaching is central to the development and growth of players. MLS NEXT coaches are committed to the development of players and receive continuing education specific to the best approaches to player development. We work and collaborate with global leaders in the space, including the French Football Federation, who has provided their world class training to over 100 coaches, and that number increases every year.
Importantly, while winning games will always be important, MLS NEXT coaches are measured by the growth and development of each player – becoming a better player, growing as a person, attending college and signing a professional contract are the true benchmarks of their success.
An often-overlooked segment of elite player development in youth sports is the implementation of plans for individual growth. Each MLS NEXT player will receive a holistic plan for personal growth, including on-field, strength and conditioning, academic, college placement and specific support tailored for the needs of the individual.
Player Identification & Recruitment
MLS NEXT understands the importance of the college pathway and appreciate that participation in our platform provides a unique opportunity for talented players and college coaches to better evaluate this decision. This dynamic also applies to prospective National Team players.
Therefore, we have been developing and implementing innovative approaches to address this issue, including:
- Creation of College Coaches Committee
- Youth National Team Advisory Committee
- Alternative Digital Media Evaluation Platform
- Virtual Meetings among players, families and college coaches to discuss the current landscape
- Schedule competitions and events to showcase players