MLS announced on Monday they details surrounding the long-mooted new reserve league, MLS Next Pro, which is scheduled to launch next spring. Featuring 21 teams — 20 MLS reserve teams plus one independently-owned side, Rochester NY FC, formerly known as the Rochester Rhinos, coming off a multi-year hiatus.
LAFC will not be fielding a team in the league in 2022, but MLS announced they will be part of a cadre of teams that will enter reserve teams in 2023.
We haven’t got confirmation, but presumably that means LAFC may stick with Las Vegas Lights FC as their reserve side in the USL Championship next year. While rumors had mooted the LAFC-Vegas relationship as a long-term one, in the end the arrangement this year was officially called a one-year set-up. Will they renew next year? Will LAFC just jettison the reserve team setup altogether for a year? While Las Vegas finished bottom of their division this year and got pumped quite often in the USL Championship, LAFC’s tweeners and young players got real minutes playing there, which is kind of the point of a reserve team.
So we’ll see what happens for next year and then what LAFC does with their reserve team in the new reserve league. I hope both teams and MLS take the new league seriously, and we don’t backslide into secret kickoffs at 10 am on a Thursday, with no details revealed, no stream or way to keep track of what’s happening. If the league acts professionally and the teams do likewise, hopefully it helps push the teams forward in terms of player development.
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