The Sporting KC Academy U15s, U17s and U19s will continue their push for a berth in the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs at the inaugural MLS NEXT Flex tournament starting Friday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD.

The MLS NEXT season culminates with the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, which will take place at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas from June 25 to July 3, 2022 with a single-elimination competition featuring the top 32 teams in four age groups. Teams can qualify for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs based on their play in the regular season or by winning their respective group at MLS NEXT Flex, a competition featuring 64 of the best MLS NEXT clubs from the U15, U16, U17 and U19 age groups.

“The assembled group of clubs at MLS NEXT Flex represent the best academies across the United States and Canada, all of which have demonstrated a strong history of player development and sought the highest levels of competition,” said MLS Vice President, Player and Youth Development Fred Lipka. “MLS NEXT Flex is an essential addition to the MLS NEXT season and developmental process and will be instrumental in further enhancing the competition in our league.”

Clubs in each of the four age groups qualified for MLS NEXT Flex on a points-per-game basis in each of MLS NEXT’s eight divisions. Qualifying clubs were assigned into sixteen groups of four via a draw in the month of April and the champions of each of these groups will automatically qualify for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. The 80-minute U15 matches and 90-minute U16, U17 and U19 matches that end regulation in a draw will move to penalty kicks. The winner of penalty kicks will earn two points, while the loser will take home one point.

MLS NEXT Flex will also provide an opportunity for North America’s top youth talent to be seen by college, youth national team and professional coaches, as well as scouts and evaluators, in a singular location. The MLS NEXT Match Evaluator program, which features former professional players who are trained on-site to identify top talent, will continue at both MLS NEXT Flex and in the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.

Sporting KC U15s Schedule - Group L
Opponent
Date
Time (ET)
New York Soccer Club
Saturday, May 14
1 p.m.
Santa Barbra Soccer Club
Sunday, May 15
12:30 p.m.
Weston FC
Tuesday, May 17
8:30 a.m.
Sporting KC U17s Schedule - Group D
Opponent
Date
Time (ET)
St Louis City SC
Saturday, May 14
5 p.m.
Real Salt Lake
Sunday, May 15
3 p.m.
LA Surf Soccer Club
Tuesday, May 17
10:45 a.m.
Sporting KC U19s Schedule - Group H
Opponent
Date
Time (ET)
Silicon Valley SA
Friday, May 13
12:30 p.m.
Toronto FC
Saturday, May 14
11 a.m.
FC Cincinnati
Monday, May 16
10:45 a.m.

Download MLS NEXT Flex logos here | Link

Below are details on how to qualify for the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs in each age division.

Under-15 Division

32 total teams will qualify for the U15 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.

Sixteen teams will qualify based on regular season performance, including the top eight MLS club academies and top eight MLS NEXT Elite academies on a points-per-game basis.

  • CLICK HERE for U15 MLS NEXT regular season standings and results

Sixteen additional teams will qualify through MLS NEXT Flex, the interleague competition featuring both MLS and Elite academies.

Under-17 Division

32 total teams will qualify for the U17 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.

Sixteen teams will qualify based on regular season performance, including the top eight MLS academies and top eight MLS NEXT Elite academies based on points-per-game.

  • CLICK HERE for U17 MLS NEXT regular season standings and results

Sixteen additional teams will qualify through MLS NEXT Flex, the interleague competition featuring both MLS and Elite academies.

Under-19 Division

32 total teams will qualify for the U19 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.

Sixteen teams, across MLS academy and MLS NEXT Elite academy teams, will qualify based on regular season performance based on points-per-game.

  • CLICK HERE for U19 MLS NEXT regular season standings and results

Sixteen additional teams will qualify through MLS NEXT Flex, the interleague competition featuring both MLS and Elite academies.

Teams that don’t qualify for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, including all clubs in the U13 and U14 age groups, can compete in the MLS NEXT Cup Showcase, which provides an exposure platform for players to play in front of college, youth national team, and professional coaches and scouts. All clubs participating in the MLS NEXT Cup Showcase will have three matches in four days.

Clubs who are eliminated in the first two rounds of the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs are eligible to participate in the MLS NEXT Cup Showcase.

The event will also have the MLS NEXT “Best Of” matches in which identified top players from MLS NEXT Showcase teams will compete. These players are selected based on regular season and 2021-22 MLS NEXT event performances, including MLS NEXT Fest and MLS NEXT Flex.

More information on the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, including a schedule of matches, will be shared at a later date. For more information on MLS NEXT, please visit https://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext/.

About MLS NEXT

MLS NEXT is a new paradigm for player development, launched in 2020 to transform youth soccer in North America. Founded on a collaborative approach to governance and a commitment to innovation, MLS NEXT players have access to the highest level of competition, training and personal development opportunities that will prepare them for their futures, both in soccer and in life. Membership for the 2021-22 season includes 133 clubs, 598 teams and over 12,000 players across the U.S. and Canada. Official partners of MLS NEXT include adidas and Carolina Online at the University of South Carolina. For more information about MLS NEXT, visit www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext.