Wikipedia - MLS Next Pro

MLS Next Pro is a men's professional soccer league in the United States and Canada that is affiliated with Major League Soccer. It launched in 2022 with 21 teams, of which 20 are reserve sides for MLS clubs and the independent Rochester New York FC. The league is classified as part of the third tier of the United States soccer league system.


On June 21, 2021, Major League Soccer announced the creation of a new professional league which would begin play in 2022. MLS has applied to the United States Soccer Federation for the league to be sanctioned as a Division III professional league, the same level currently occupied by USL League One and the National Independent Soccer Association and one level below the USL Championship. MLS announced that Next Pro would start with at least 20 teams, many of them owned by Major League Soccer and development teams between their first-teams and their youth academies. All MLS clubs with reserve teams in USL Championship or USL League One will be moving those sides to MLS Next Pro by 2023.

The inaugural match of MLS Next Pro was played on March 25, 2022 at Hermann Stadium in St. Louis. St. Louis City SC 2 defeated Rochester New York FC 2–0. Wan Kuzain scored the first ever goal in the 20th minute.

On July 6, 2022, new rules for the league were introduced in the middle of its inaugural season. This included a off-field treatment rule meant to curb gamesmanship and timewasting and a new rule for red card suspensions: The suspension a player gets for getting a red card or 2 yellow cards in the same game will be served against the same team where he got the red card. This is in addition to other rules that have been implemented, including all regular season draws being decided by penalties (which was last used in MLS in 1999, albeit as normal penalty kicks instead of the NASL-style runup penalties also used by MLS back then) and the addition of concussion substitutions.