MLS NEXT Pro Unveils 21 Teams For Inaugural Season

MLS NEXT Pro has announced the 21 clubs competing in the new professional league’s inaugural 2022 season. However, Nashville SC will not have a team until the 2023 season along with a few other clubs.

The new professional league was established in June by Major League Soccer and will complete an integrated player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. The new league will offer young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship.

The 21 clubs competing in MLS NEXT Pro’s inaugural season include 20 teams affiliated with MLS and one independent club, Rochester NY FC which is co-owned by English Premier League star Jamie Vardy.

“We are thrilled that Rochester NY FC will be the first independent club to join MLS NEXT Pro,” says Rochester NY FC co-owners David and Wendy Dworkin. “Rochester established itself as a winning club with the Rhinos, and we are pleased to add a new chapter in the city’s rich soccer history as Rochester NY FC. We are excited to develop the future international stars of soccer, right here in our local community. By joining this league, Rochester is on the cusp of the future and the evolving global game of soccer.”

The teams participating in the new MLS league include Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New England, NYCFC, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto and Vancouver.

The league has appointed Charles Altchek as President and Ali Curtis as Senior Vice President of Competition and Operations of MLS NEXT Pro. Previously, Altchek was SVP of League Growth and Operations at Major League Soccer. There he led the planning and development of MLS NEXT Pro since its inception, and drove MLS’ expansion strategy and efforts, including serving as the point of contact for all recent and prospective new ownership groups.

For the last three seasons, Curtis was General Manager of Toronto FC, leading the Club to MLS Cup in 2019. Previously, he was sporting director for the New York Red Bulls, who won the Supporters Shield under his leadership in 2015.

Along with Nashville, other MLS-affiliated teams will join MLS NEXT Pro in 2023, including: Atlanta United, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, D.C. United, LA Galaxy, LAFC, and New York Red Bulls. In addition to Rochester NY FC, MLS NEXT Pro will introduce additional independent clubs to the league in 2023 and beyond.

Steven Boero