Sporting Kansas City II is one of 21 clubs that will compete in MLS NEXT Pro's inaugural 2022 season, the new professional league announced today.
Sporting KC II has competed in the USL Championship for the past six seasons since launching as Sporting Kansas City's minor league development team in 2016. Thirteen players currently on Sporting Kansas City's senior roster have featured for Sporting KC II, including 2021 MLS MVP finalist Daniel Salloi and U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper John Pulskamp.
Established in June by Major League Soccer, the new professional league 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.
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.
Cities across North America will experience the excitement and passion of professional soccer through the inclusion of both independent teams and MLS-affiliated teams. The 21 clubs competing in MLS NEXT Pro's inaugural season include 20 teams affiliated with MLS clubs and one independent club, Rochester NY FC.
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: 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.
Adidas will serve as MLS NEXT Pro's first corporate sponsor. As a founding partner of MLS NEXT Pro, adidas will continue to expand upon its deep relationship with MLS and MLS NEXT. The partnership affirms adidas' commitment to the growth and advancement of the sport of soccer in local communities throughout the United States, Canada and globally.
The league has appointed its two leading executives. Charles Altchek has been named President and Ali Curtis will be Senior Vice President of Competition and Operations of MLS NEXT Pro.
ABOUT MLS NEXT Pro
MLS NEXT Pro is a professional men's soccer league in the United States and Canada debuting with 21 clubs for its inaugural season in 2022. MLS NEXT Pro completes the pro player pathway by connecting youth academies in MLS NEXT to 1st teams in Major League Soccer. More so, it grows the game through innovation and diversity by bringing professional soccer to new markets, creating career opportunities for professionals on and off the field, and providing communities with a strong sense of pride. For more information about MLS NEXT Pro, visit www.mlsnextpro.com.