The US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League has announced Sporting Kansas City Academy and its affiliates will join Major League Soccer youth clubs, Chicago Fire youth academy and Columbus Crew youth teams, and their youth affiliated clubs in the Pro Youth Clubs Affiliates Division.
The Pro Youth Clubs Affiliates Division will be operated under the umbrella of the MRL but will be conducted outside of the current three-tier structure of the league. Only MLS youth clubs and their affiliates are eligible to compete in this new division.
"The Sporting Kansas City Academy strives to provide an elite environment for all of our teams and players to perform in throughout the year," said Jon Parry, Director of Coaching, Sporting KC Academies. "The MRL's new Pro Youth Clubs Affiliates Division will certainly help foster that mission by providing a platform that combines all the competitive and developmental elements we look for in a league. We're excited about making this innovative approach a success from the beginning and look forward to seeing our teams challenged by many of the top clubs in the Midwest."
Sporting Kansas City Academy clubs participating in 2013-2014 include Sporting Kaw Valley (Lawrence, Kan.), Sporting Blue Valley (Overland Park, Kan.), TSC Hurricanes (Tulsa, Okla.), Sporting St. Louis Rangers (St Louis, Mo.), Sporting Lincoln FC (Lincoln, Neb.), Sporting Columbia SC (Columbia, Mo.) and Omaha FC.
Those clubs will be joined by Columbus Crew Youth teams, Grand Rapids Crew Juniors, Challenger (Cleveland) Crew Juniors, Chicago Fire Academy, Chicago Fire Juniors United, Carmel/Indiana Fire Academy, Michigan Fire Juniors, Kentucky Fire Juniors and Wisconsin Fire.
"Sporting St. Louis Rangers are proud to be among the inaugural members of the Pro Youth Clubs Affiliates Division alongside MLS Academy teams and their affiliates," said Tom Howe, Director of Coaching, Sporting St. Louis Rangers. "The opportunity to develop players by competing against high-quality teams is an exciting endeavor for everyone involved and our teams are looking forward to playing within the Midwest Regional League structure for even greater exposure provided by this platform. This is a great step forward for the growth of the game in our region."
The Pro division will operate both girls and boys divisions from Under-12 through Under-18. In addition to league play within the division, teams will also take part in showcase events during the Fall and Spring. Under-12 through Under-14 Boys and Girls age groups will play in both the Fall and Spring Seasons. Under-15 through Under-18 Boys will compete in the Spring. Under-15 through Under-18 Girls are expected to compete in an event in mid-November, allowing for teams to participate without high school soccer conflicts. The first event is tentatively scheduled for August 24-25, hosted by the Chicago Fire.
For more information on the Pro Youth Club Affiliates Division, click here
For more information on the Midwest Regional League, click here