MLS finally announced the details of their new second-tier today – named MLS Next Pro – and North Texas SC will officially be joining this new league for 2022. North Texas SC will continue to play its home matches at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
There will be twenty other club’s in the new league from MLS and one team – Rochester New York FC, co-owned by Jamie Vardy – from outside MLS.
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.
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.
MLS Next Pro will play a 25 week season and have an 8 team playoff structure.
MLS Teams in MLS Next Pro for 2022
USL brand names added by me as a pure assumption. Also, I used announced names when I found them.
Chicago Fire FC
Columbus Crew 2
North Texas SC (FC Dallas)
Houston Dynamo 2
Sporting Kansas City II
Fort Lauderdale CF (Inter Miami)
Minnesota United FC 2
New England Revolution II
Orlando City B
Philadelphia Union II
Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake)
San Jose Earthquakes
Tacoma Defiance (Seattle Sounders)
St. Louis FC
Toronto FC II
MLS Teams Staying in USL-C
By extrapolation, these teams are staying in the Championship for one more year.
LA Galaxy II
Atlanta United 2
New York Red Bulls II
Loudon United FC (DC United)
Some 3rd Degree Thoughts
It might have been nice to see NTXSC stay in USL-1 because of the stated desire of USL to have promotion and relegation someday. If that were possible then North Texas SC might be able to get into the USL Championship and play even tougher teams. Something that might benefit the organization.
Of course, that would have been more expensive. So it was never gonna happen. Hopefully, the quality of MLS Next Pro will exceed USL-1. Word on the street is all MLS teams don’t have a choice but to join MLS Next Pro anyway so it’s a moot point.
It will be interesting to see how clubs choose to use this league. Houston Dynamo, for example, has a U23 team already set up that seems to be destined for this new league. will other teams use more mature sides equal to a Union Omaha, for example.