STATESBORO, Ga. – South Georgia Tormenta FC Academy kicks off play in the MLS NEXT regular season this weekend, as TFC Academy's U15, U16 and U17 Boys teams face off against Atlanta United Academy on Sept. 11 in Marietta, Georgia.
Meanwhile, the U13, U14, U15, U16, U17 and U19 Boys teams will kick off its first home matches at The Clubhouse Fields in Statesboro, Georgia against Alabama-based club Hoover-Vestavia Soccer on Sept. 18.
The 2021-22 MLS NEXT season will allow the top prospects in the U.S. and Canada to compete in a ten-month regular season and a chance to become MLS NEXT Champions by winning the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs in July 2022. New to the second edition of the competition, the 2021-22 MLS NEXT campaign will feature two national events, a winter event and a qualifying event for the annual MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.
Throughout the season, the competition format aims to balance a diversity of opponents and an efficient travel schedule, minimizing flights and hotel stays for the majority of participants, especially at the U13 and U14 age groups. Additionally, the competition will continue to operate under the MLS NEXT Return to Play protocols, ensuring teams are competing in a manner consistent with local, state, and federal health recommendations.
The top 32 teams from the regular season will compete to be crowned MLS NEXT champion in the four oldest age groups (U15, U16, U17, U19) next July at the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. The two youngest ages (U13 & U14) will join the older teams not participating in the Playoffs at the MLS NEXT Cup Showcase held at the same venue.
Sixteen of the 32 teams will qualify for MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs based on their standings in their League table. League matches will be played on a regional basis from August to June, featuring eight regional divisions, plus new MLS divisions at the U15 and U17 ages.
The other sixteen teams will qualify for MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs based on their performance at the qualifying event held in May. The qualifying event will feature the top 64 teams in each age group competing in 16 groups of 4 teams with the winner of each group advancing to MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. Participants in the qualifying event will qualify and be seeded based on their performance in local matches from August to March.
The industry leading partnership between adidas and Major League Soccer continues to drive the evolution of player development. adidas provides the official match ball for all MLS NEXT matches and works with MLS to advance the game in North America by creating an atmosphere that supports the next generation of rising stars on the professional pathway.
ABOUT TORMENTA FC ACADEMY
Committed to raising the level of soccer locally and across the country, Tormenta FC Academy has programs available from age two all the way up to age 19 and is the only youth academy in South Georgia and the Lowcountry of South Carolina with a path to the professional ranks. Over the years, TFC Academy has helped many talented players on their paths to higher levels of the game, whether it be Indiana Vassilev in Major League Soccer with Inter Miami, Paolo Alcocer in the Bolivian Primera División with Club Aurora or James Brighton, a rising talent in the collegiate ranks at Clemson University. In 2019, midfielder Tristan DeLoach became the first TFC Academy talent to sign a professional academy contract with the professional USL League One team, followed by his peers midfielder Grant Hampton and goalkeeper Stephen O’Hearn in 2020 and defender Brittain Gottlieb and forward Tyler Bisseck in 2021.
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. Current membership includes 134 clubs, 590 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.