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LSA Founding Member

The 95 clubs become founding members of the new platform which will include more than 8,000 players throughout the U.S. and Canada and 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.



MLS Scouting Opportunities

  • Elite academy clubs throughout the country are more united than ever, ensuring their respective soccer communities concerns are accounted for in co-creating this platform 

  • Focus on yearlong elite-level competition

  • Additional areas of emphasis in coaching education, player identification and player programming to accompany on-field competition 

  • Clearly defined player pathways


Age Brackets for the MLS Next League

LSA offers MLS Next on the following brackets:

U13 Boys

U14 Boys

U15 Boys

U16 Boys

U17 Boys

U18/U19 Boys

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MLS Next Director

Henry Rodhes

He has experience coaching several age groups from the girls' and boys' academy levels. He has served as head coach for DA teams and is now with MLS next. He has helped to build our MLS next program and has worked in LSA for over 10 years, and developed many players now in Atlanta United. He holds a USSF “B” license as well as a US youth soccer license. He received his B.A in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of North Georgia. He is a teacher of the game and he wants to help our young kids to further develop their skills and passion for the game.


Henry Rodhe

(706) 525-5229


"I am very excited to be part of this new league and new efforts to develop players across the nation. MLS is a young league that has taken giant steps to become a top league around the world. I am looking forward to helping develop the next top talent"


Jonathan Cueva

LSA Executive Director 


3 to 4 practices a week


We participate in top college showcases across the country


We compete against MLS Proffesional Academies


We play for 10 months, meaningful games.


We are set to face off against six MLS GA Clubs, a noteworthy opponent in ATL United, a formidable team from Nashville (Nashville SC), and six competitive Carolina clubs, with Charlotte FC among them.

We play National and Local College Showcases including MLS Fest (Arizona), IMG Showcase in Florida, Atlanta United Showcase (Georgia) 

Players are anticipated to meet travel requirements. At least half of the games will be hosted at our home venue.

Major League Soccer and 65 elite youth soccer clubs are joining forces to create a partnership that will transform youth development in the U.S. and Canada, impacting more than 8,000 soccer players. This unprecedented collaboration connects the region’s elite youth academies with MLS’s massive resources. Together, we have a rare opportunity to create a new paradigm for developing world-class players that will help us become more competitive on the global stage and ultimately elevate the overall popularity of soccer in our region.



“We are having daily conversations with top elite youth academies across the country who have committed to building this new development platform with us,” said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development. “There is strong positive momentum and excitement among MLS academies and elite academy clubs to co-create a high-level competition that will deliver the premier player development environment for the nation’s top players and clubs.”


“It is important that player development within this country come from a diverse yet aligned North American soccer landscape. With this in mind, the new elite player development platform will be a collaborative effort between MLS academies and elite academy clubs with input from our partners at U.S. Soccer, Canada Soccer and the College Coaches Committee.”


“The pathway to the professional level for elite players in the U.S. and Canada has never been clearer. This new competition platform will evolve and accelerate player development in North America with alignment across elite academies and the elevation of standard practices throughout the region.”


A total of 95 elite soccer academies from across the U.S. and Canada – 65 elite youth clubs and 30 MLS clubs – have committed to join a groundbreaking new MLS player development platform as Founding Members. More than 8,000 elite youth soccer players will be brought under the same structure as part of this program. 


The new platform will consist of elite year-round competition as well as coaching education opportunities, player identification initiatives and programming to create the ideal environment for elite player development.


Leaders from across the soccer landscape, combining MLS academies and elite academy clubs, will collaborate in co-creating the structure of the platform

The goals of MLS and non-MLS academies are deeply aligned – to improve the game in our country and provide our players with a year-round, high-level competition, and ultimately develop professional players. 



  • Virtually all 95 Founding Members previously competed under the former U.S. Development Academy (USSDA)

    • 65 elite academy clubs, 30 MLS club academies (including four future expansion clubs) 

  • More than 8,000 elite soccer players will be brought under the same structure under this new competition platform

  • MLS academies and elite academy clubs will work collaboratively to build out the structure of the new platform

  • Nearly 90% of USYNT players over the past year were developed in MLS academies (55/62 players on U-17, U-20, U-23 rosters)

    • Note nearly 100% of players on the USYNT were developed by elite youth soccer academies 

  • Competition platform will be organized, managed and funded by MLS 



  • Elite academy clubs throughout the country are more united than ever, ensuring their respective soccer communities concerns are accounted for in co-creating this platform 

  • Focus on yearlong elite-level competition

  • Additional areas of emphasis in coaching education, player identification and player programming to accompany on-field competition 

  • Clearly defined player pathways



  • Technical leadership group to establish strategic objectives, competition format and guidelines.

    • Group consists of leaders from MLS academies, elite academy clubs, U.S. Soccer, Canada Soccer, College Coaches Committee, and other youth competition organizers.

  • Additional clubs can join through an application process in coming weeks

  • Competition structure and guidelines to be announced at a later date

  • Official competition platform brand to be announced at a later date


Expected Q&A

  • How does this new competition format differ from the previous DA structure? 

    • This platform will take on an innovative governance structure which will include collaboration from leaders of Founding Member clubs. 

    • Collaboration from a wide swath of soccer leaders across North America will offer a unique approach with consideration to soccer communities with differing needs respective to their regions.

    • This collaboration will establish a better working relationship for all key constituencies dedicated to furthering domestic player development.

  • Will clubs that previously did not participate in the DA be allowed to join and operate under this new structure? 

    • An application process will be set up for clubs that wish to participate in the future. 

    • All applying clubs will be subject to meeting requirements for admission to participate in the platform.

  • Will girls clubs that were previously included in the former USSDA competition be included in this new platform? 

    • The Founding Member Clubs value opportunity for all youth players and will provide additional opportunities for elite girls players to showcase their skills for pro and college scouts. 

    • The exact details surrounding these opportunities will be announced at a later date. 

  • Will elite academy clubs still participate in a pay-to-play structure under this new competition format? 

    • MLS collaboration on this platform with elite academies will not impact their business model. 

    • In fact, MLS is committing additional resources to helping long-term financial sustainability of elite academy clubs in order to increase access and remove barriers for elite players. 

  • How is this technical leadership group determined and who is leading the charge here?

    • MLS will be working with our Founding Members in the coming weeks to determine the working group areas for the platform. 

    • Additionally, MLS, the elite youth academies and a youth development advisory committee will provide input into those working areas.

  • What is the financial motivation for MLS to take over in the youth development space?

    • MLS has a stated goal of being one of the top leagues in the world. To do that, we need to improve the quality of the domestic player pool. 

    • Our platform will ensure that everyone who is committed to elevating the quality of the player pool and the game as a whole in this country will be able to contribute to that effort.  

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