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MLS Next FAQ's (English) | 22-23
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MLS NEXT Frequently Asked Questions

Why did ASA accept an invitation to join the MLS NEXT competition platform?

As with any new initiative ASA leadership is thoughtful about how a change may affect the club’s ability to achieve its outcomes; Improved health & well being of every ASA participant and ensuring that Alexandria is a thriving community.

MLS NEXT received hundreds of applications for their “full slate” status. ASA, based on the club’s robust structure alongside growing levels of team performance, is one of a small group of clubs nationwide who were invited for full participation in the 2022-23 year. The addition of the MLS NEXT platform allows ASA to introduce new inputs for our most comprehensive program, the Academy. MLS NEXT brings the opportunity for high level regional play, external interactions with MLS pro-level national competition, collegiate & pro scouts and more. This opportunity, for players ready for a high level of play and increased time commitment, improves the comprehensive experience of the ASA Red, White, Blue, Black and Silver teams by introducing supplemental MLS opportunities to the broader community.

Our commitment to providing an appropriate level of competition for each player remains the same. The MLS NEXT platform simply provides an additional level of play as boys develop. The timing of the invitation to MLS NEXT aligns with ASA’s overall level of play and experience after a decade of professionalization and continued development. As with any league, we will continue to evaluate the appropriateness of the experience to ensure we provide our families with high quality training and competition that align with our participants’ needs and abilities.

Does the MLS NEXT platform support girls academy teams?

The MLS NEXT platform currently supports boys teams only. The league has recently approved welcoming girls to join boys teams on an individual basis. Separately, the MLS has partnered with the new Girls Academy (GA) platform that mirrors the same structure as the MLS NEXT. MLS is committed to supporting both boys and girls in the future. ASA is in close conversation with the MLS, GA, National PRO League and other national platforms to support the highest level of girls competition in the future.

Will there be more travel for MLS Next teams?

        Divisions for MLS Next are regionally based. ASA teams will likely participate in the Mid-

Atlantic Region Division. The Mid-Atlantic consists of local and regionally based teams therefore the MLS Next league platform travel is similar to that of USYS regional leagues (National League, EDP, and CCL).

A sample of the MLS NEXT Schedule can be found here: MLS NEXT MID ATLANTIC

Sample list of teams in the mid atlantic region:

Can MLS NEXT players play on their high school soccer teams?
MLS Next players
are not permitted to compete for their high school teams at this time. A private school student who receives a scholarship to participate on his high school team can apply for a waiver to play on the high school team. High school participation is not allowed unless academic standing is tied to it. The league has messaged that they will be reviewing this policy on an annual basis.

Do MLS NEXT teams compete in State Cup, Regionals/Nationals and other competitions?

Clubs may participate in high level tournaments (ie. ASA Feature Weekend) outside of MLS NEXT, in each case subject to approval by MLS Player Development Department. Clubs will only be permitted to participate in approved competitions and events that follow the MLS NEXT Technical Framework and are in compliance with the standards outlined in the MLS NEXT Outside Competition Standards. Club participation in outside competition without prior approval may result in discipline.

The MLS NEXT platform is designed to provide a comprehensive annual competition schedule with regional and national events to complement the Mid-Atlantic schedule listed above. Should specific teams/players need additional opportunities to compete ASA’s technical staff will recommend them on an individual and team by team basis.

Are there U18 teams?

There are no U18 age groups for the league. The age group structure jumps directly from U17 to U19. Players born in 2004 and 2003 will compete together on the ASA U19 team. Note that the ASA Red/White teams may be formulated both as U18 and U18/19 teams depending on the player pool and makeup of existing teams though the general trend for league competition is U17 and U19 groups.

Does MLS Next mandate 4 practices per week?

Referencing the most recent MLS Next Rules and Regulations regarding the preferred training model from 2021-2022:

Each Club team at the U-14 through U-19 age groups is expected to hold at least four (4) training sessions per week while the team is competing during the MLS NEXT Season. Teams competing in the U-13 age group are expected to train a minimum of three (3) times per week throughout the duration of the MLS NEXT Season.

Each Club team at the U-13 through U-19 age groups is expected to provide at least one (1) day of rest per week during the MLS NEXT Season.

ASA will continue to plan and share more detailed information on the impact to the annual training and competition schedule.

What is included in the MLS Next tuition?

The tuition is an all-inclusive price for participants (outside of regional or national tournaments that are not in the annual scope as each team must qualify).

Every ASA team budget includes, but not limited to, these elements:  

Club Fees | These fees support administrative costs associated with running the club, which include but are not limited to: technical and office staff wages; office expenses; facility rentals; marketing materials, coaching education, coaches gear; program development; field equipment including goals, flags and storage space. Club fees are subject to increase based on need and growth of the organization.

Tournaments/Festivals | Associated with MLS Next competition schedule.

Supplemental Training | ASA retains services of supplemental goalkeeper trainers, an injury prevention trainer, and a sports based mental strength professional. Their services are used intermittently or as needed throughout the seasons.

ASA works hard to maximize the benefit of resources invested into the club and diversify revenue streams to reduce the burden to families who are supporting youth players. Additionally, the club is committed to ensuring access to each club program, regardless of the scope, to all members of our community. The Academy tuition is designed to cover all annual expenses related to the annual team/player scope. Budgets are finalized by ASA’s Executive Director in partnership with the Academy program lead admin, technical and coaching staff. These budgets are approved by the ASA finance committee and board of directors. To learn more about “Where does all the money go?” please visit this resource document.

Questions submitted from Instagram:

What teams will ASA compete against?

The final competition schedule and brackets for the 22-23 season are still to be determined. During the 21-22 season our MLS Next teams competed against the following clubs:

New York Red Bull, Philly Union, Baltimore Armour, Cedar Stars, SYC, Achilles FC, PDA, PA Classics, Bethesda, Real New Jersey, TSF Academy, PDA.


Coaching slate?

The MLS NEXT and full Academy program coaching slate is coming soon! ASA is staffed with coaches with experience coaching at professional, collegiate and the highest levels of youth soccer.

Is there a pathway to possibly being recruited and signed to an MLS team?

While a few players may be identified to transition at some point, our ASA teams will continue to develop and compete at high levels. Last year, we successfully transitioned two players — Noel Calix (2006 Boys) and Drew Hartman (2005 Boys) from ASA to the D.C. United youth academy. Our staff worked directly with D.C. United staff over the course of several years to transition the players at an appropriate time (after practices, training camps, guest playing opportunities, etc). Both Drew & Noel remain very connected to ASA programming in various ways.

Should a player not sign a pro contract with the D.C. United first team by the age of 17 they would return to ASA’s Academy program. ASA will continue to be the gold standard for developing players and have a proven pathway to college soccer. The P2P program, MLS NEXT and this partnership with DCU provide an exclusive track to professional soccer for the most advanced ASA Academy players.

We will also continue to partner with the professional league in the country as part of the MLS Next League platform. This league continues to provide an appropriate level of competition for our teams in a high performing game-day environment.  

Why are MLS Tryouts held early? 

There are many variables that factor into the Academy tryout schedule, including field availability and coach availability, among other inputs. In addition, based on the soccer landscape in our area, earlier tryouts help provide the appropriate amount of time to support adequate team and roster creation. The MLS Next registration platform is separate from USYS and VYSA and has different deadlines for team creation and rostering. We want to provide ample time to navigate through the entire process of tryouts, evaluation period, invites to the team, acceptances and team creation.