Here’s the second part of the MLS shift of affiliates launched before this season: the MLS NEXT Pro 2023 lineup will grow by seven teams, including three defectors from USL Championship.
Joining the Division III MLS NEXT Pro 2023 lineup will be teams owned by MLS parents: Atlanta United (formerly of USL Championship), Austin FC, Charlotte FC, LA Galaxy (formerly of USL Championship), Los Angeles Football Club, Nashville Soccer Club and New York Red Bulls (formerly of USL Championship). Complete details, including team names, logos and venues, will be announced in the coming months, though we know the Nashville affiliate will play out of Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville.
The new teams will join the 20 MLS-affiliated clubs and one independent club, Rochester New York FC, currently competing in MLS NEXT Pro. With 21 clubs, the league currently consists of two conferences with two divisions each. Teams play 24 matches (12 home/12 away) across 26 weeks, with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs at the end of the regular season. With the addition of seven clubs next season, adjustments to the competition and scheduling formats for 2023 will be announced at a later date.
The emphasis for MLS NEXT Pro has been on player development; matches are held at a variety of venues ranging from MLS stadiums to minor-league ballparks college facilities to training facilities. Attendance is not reported.
Loudoun United is owned by D.C. United and, at least for now, remains in USL Championship. Queensboro FC is set to join USL Championship in 2023, and Pro Iowa (Des Moines) in 2024.
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