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MLS NEXT Development Grant Program: What to know & how it works | MLSSoccer.com

MLS NEXT Development Grant Program: What to know & how it works | MLSSoccer.com

MLS and MLS NEXT have announced the MLS NEXT Development Grant program, an initiative to recognize the significant contributions of MLS NEXT Elite Academies (non-MLS academy programs) in the professional player pathway by reinvesting in the youth development ecosystem.

The program provides compensation to MLS NEXT Elite Academies for eligible players that progress through the professional player pathway, from MLS NEXT Elite Academy to MLS club academy to an MLS first team as a Homegrown player.

The Development Grant program will provide additional opportunities for players across the United States and Canada to access the highest level of player development, while recognizing the considerable impact that clubs make in the early stages of an athlete’s development.

Who is eligible?

To receive the Development Grant, clubs must currently be participating in MLS NEXT and have registered the player in MLS NEXT immediately before the player moves to an MLS academy, MLS NEXT Pro team or MLS first team. Additionally, the club must satisfy all MLS NEXT regulations and policies when a player moves to and registers with an MLS academy.

The MLS NEXT Development Grant program will apply to current players, as well as those who had been previously registered to an MLS NEXT Elite Academy since the start of the 2020-21 MLS NEXT season. If a player has played for multiple MLS NEXT Elite Academies, only the immediate former MLS NEXT Elite Academy will be eligible for the Development Grant.

Milestones for Development Grant funds

Eligible MLS NEXT Elite Academies may receive Development Grant funds through three different mechanisms:

  1. The player signs a professional contract as a Homegrown player with the MLS club he moved to from the eligible MLS NEXT Academy.
  2. The eligible player appears in a certain number of MLS matches.
  3. The eligible player is transferred for a fee from an MLS club to a non-MLS club outside of the United States and Canada.

If a player joins an MLS academy directly from an Elite Academy and goes on to sign as a Homegrown with the same MLS club (excluding any short-term agreements), the MLS NEXT Elite Academy will be eligible for a one-time payment. If the player signs an MLS NEXT Pro contract immediately before signing an MLS contract, the Elite Academy would remain eligible for the Development Grant. If a player signs their first professional contract with a club outside of MLS or registers with a different team (non-Elite Academy or foreign club) prior to signing an MLS contract, the player’s former Elite Academy will not be eligible for the Development Grant.

MLS NEXT Elite Academies can receive additional Development Grant funds if the player reaches certain MLS regular season and postseason appearance milestones in his career. When the player appears in his 1st, 17th, and 34th MLS regular season or postseason match, Elite Academies will receive funds for each of the three appearance milestones.

If a player is transferred for a fee to a non-MLS club outside of the United States and Canada, the immediate former MLS NEXT Elite Academy of the player will receive a percentage of the solidarity payment which MLS would be entitled to receive under FIFA’s regulations. The percentage amount will be based on the years of development the player spent with the Elite Academy from the U-13 to U-17 age groups.

Retroactive MLS NEXT Development Grant recipients

The Development Grant will retroactively apply to players who have been registered in MLS NEXT since the start of the 2020-21 MLS NEXT season.

Player

MLS club

MLS NEXT Elite Academy

Adam Beaudry

Colorado Rapids

Real Colorado

Julio Benitez

Real Salt Lake

RSL Arizona

Chance Cowell

San Jose Earthquakes

Sacramento Republic FC

Benjamin Cremaschi

Inter Miami CF

Weston FC

Kristian Fletcher

D.C. United

Bethesda SC

Caden Glover

St. Louis CITY SC

St. Louis Scott Gallagher

Peyton Miller

New England Revolution

Oakwood Soccer Club

Tyson Pearce

St. Louis CITY SC

St. Louis Scott Gallagher

Brooklyn Raines

Houston Dynamo FC

Barca Residency Academy

Santiago Suarez

New England Revolution

Sacramento Republic FC

Read More

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