On Monday, Major League Soccer announced the launch of their new reserve league, MLS NEXT Pro. The league will kick off in March of 2022 and FC Dallas’ squad North Texas SC will make the move from the USL League One to the new league with 19 other MLS-owned squads.
North Texas SC will continue to play its home matches at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
According to the league’s press release, MLS NEXT Pro will debut in 2022, a FIFA World Cup year, and just four years prior to the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. MLS NEXT Pro will bring professional soccer closer to fans and supporters, while providing more opportunities for players, coaches, referees, and sports business professionals throughout North America.
Rochester NY FC will serve as MLS NEXT Pro’s inaugural independent club. Rochester NY FC, founded in 1996 as the Rochester Rhinos and rebranded this September, is owned by David and Wendy Dworkin, and co-owned by Premier League striker, and former England National Team star, Jamie Vardy of Leicester City F.C.
In addition to Rochester NY FC, the following MLS clubs will compete in MLS NEXT Pro’s 2022 season:
- Kansas City
- New England
- Salt Lake
- San Jose
- St. Louis
Eight additional MLS-affiliated teams will join MLS NEXT Pro in 2023, including Atlanta United, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, D.C. United, LA Galaxy, LAFC, Nashville SC, 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.
MLS NEXT Pro will kick off its inaugural season in March, just one month after Major League Soccer action starts, and see its season culminate in postseason action in September. The full 2022 match schedule and competition details will be announced at a later date.