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Elite Academy League proudly launches with the Southwest Conference MLS Elite Founding Member Clubs to give clubs full player pathway and standards and competition for total player pool.

The Elite Academy League is an Elite platform developed to address the needs of its membership primarily assisting with developing top players inside the elite club’s player pool.

This new league allows the member clubs of the “MLS Elite Youth Network,” to work together to promote the highest standards in competitive soccer and integrate both leagues with this common goal and direction.

Sharing the player development philosophy of a long-term, individual player development approach over the team winning standings, the EA offers a new level of player development not available before when the U.S. Soccer Development Academy existed — a layer right below the DA’s top tier where players can train in a similar environment and be ready to advance when able and opportunity knocks.

This integration further presents long-needed flexibility in two key areas:

  1. Permission for all players to participate in High School Soccer and,

  2. Revising the substitution rules to encourage clubs to better utilize their player pools, especially when showcasing their players to college coaches.


The Elite Academy League has a mission to maintain the standards that exist inside the “MLS Elite” league, bridging the gap and developing the player pool in the most effective manner to promote the advancement of qualified players.


Our vision is to advance the player pool who have shown and developed the skills necessary to progress to the highest level of play. This league provides and fosters a vertical integration approach, leading to direct access and movement into the next level of play, with the “MLS Elite” clubs. This league will serve to provide a seamless pathway of development for all top players who are motivated to establish themselves at the elite level, for competitive youth soccer, the collegiate environment, and beyond.

TFA is excited to be a founding member of this incredible platform to provide to our qualified players and teams. Teams selected to participate in this league by our Club will work closely with our MLS Academy teams throughout the season including player exchange.


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