Major League Soccer have announced their plans to launch a new professional football league in 2022 with the purpose of completing a player’s pathway to professional soccer.
The league is also intended to redirect excitement and thrill to cities that currently do not have a professional soccer team nearby.
The new format will consist of 20 clubs at first along with the potential for independently owned teams. The inauguration is set to kick off in late March 2022 and conclude with playoffs in the fall and a championship match in early December, mimicking Major League Soccer.
Official names, logos and participating teams will be revealed soon, while the application process for expansion clubs are scheduled to be unveiled over the course of this year, according to MLS' website.
For now, MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott released a statement detailing the excitement and passion behind the project.
“We are excited to launch a new league to complete the professional pathway between our academies and the MLS first teams,” said Abbott in a league release.
“In addition to providing more opportunities for MLS-caliber players, the new league will develop a diverse talent pool of coaches, referees and front office executives while also attracting fans who previously were unable to support a local club in their hometown."
The league will provide the crucial bridge between academy and professional football for individuals, accelerating the development of talent through a competitive environment as opposed to the traditional training method. Given that 20 percent of MLS roster slots are currently occupied by homegrown athletes, this new league offers a possibility for that number to expand and more academy players to get the chance to thrive professionally.
This new opportunity exists to cater to the growing demand and interest for professional soccer teams around the country. As the popularity for football increases in the United States and MLS continues to expand into cities, this new league provides more opportunities for local fanbases.