The NPL has been created to provide a unified, league-based national developmental platform with the highest level of competition in given geographic areas, and to elevate and change the competitive youth soccer landscape based upon US Club Soccer’s fundamental principles.
The NPL extends developmental principals espoused by the U.S. Soccer Development Academy into younger age groups and additional clubs, providing a platform for long-term player development.
More specifically, the NPL provides a platform:
- focused on long-term player development;
- for the country’s top soccer clubs, allowing consistent, meaningful high-level games appropriately scheduled with higher training-to-game ratios;
- that allows players to be scouted and evaluated by U.S. Soccer National Staff and Technical Advisors;
- that is designed and structured by the clubs, based on the needs of the clubs;
- using international rules of competition;
- that provides an avenue for qualification for the NPL Champions Cup.
The NPL is an important component of US Club Soccer’s 10-year vision to refine the landscape for competitive youth soccer. This vision recognizes that:
- Properly-structured youth soccer clubs are the vehicle through which player development does and must occur in the United States.
- Clubs should play in leagues that provide meaningful games, allow establishment of the proper training-to-game ratio, and eliminate calendar congestion.
- National Premier Leagues, as well as the best clubs, should be integrated in US Club Soccer’s id2 National Identification and Development Program, include Player Development Programs (PDPs) in select local markets, and work closely with U.S. Soccer staff regarding player identification, and player and coach development.
The culminating event each year is the NPL Champions Cup, where national championships will be awarded. The NPL Champions Cup will feature qualifiers from every NPL across the country in a true “champions league” competition.
For a listing of all leagues and clubs within the NPL, please click here.
US Club Soccer’s National Premier Leagues are independently-operated leagues, united under a similar technical and national competition framework.
Some of these independent leagues – such as the Northeast Pre-Academy League, Southeast Pre-Academy League and Texas Pre-Academy League – are comprised solely of U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs to extend the principles and technical framework of USSDA in younger age groups.
Other independent NPLs are comprised of both U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs and other premier clubs – such as the Midwest Developmental League. Finally, other NPLs consist of premier clubs outside of the USSDA.
The participating clubs in each individual NPL are determined based on competitive quality, geography and other issues within the three potential structures.
Every NPL is based upon regular-season competition solely between the teams within that particular NPL. Qualifiers from each NPL – based upon team performance within the league – are eligible to compete in the NPL Champions Cup, where NPL national champions will be crowned at every age group. The NPL Competition Committee allocates qualifying berths for each NPL into the NPL Champions Cup according to the league’s strength. Competition within the NPL postseason is seeded to prevent teams from similar geographic areas from meeting until the final rounds.
About the Midwest Development League (MDL):
The Midwest Developmental League, which includes U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16 and U-18 boys’ age groups for the 2011-12 season, was founded in April 2011 as part of US Club Soccer’s National Premier Leagues.
The 23 clubs competing in the Midwest Developmental League include all of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs and the top clubs outside the Academy in the Midwest:
Great Lakes Division:
- Bavarian SC (WI)
- Chicago Fire Academy (IL)
- Chicago Magic (IL)
- FC Milwaukee Nationals (WI)
- FC United (IL)
- Blue Valley SC (KS)
- Madison 56ers (WI)
- MN Thunder Academy (MN)
- Rockford Raptors (IL)
- St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Metro (IL)
- St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri (MO)
- Sockers FC Chicago (IL)
- Sporting KC Juniors (KS)
- Carmel United (IN)
- Cincinnati United SC (OH)
- Crew Juniors (OH)
- Fort Wayne Fever (IN)
- Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI)
- Internationals SC (OH)
- Michigan Jaguars FC (MI)
- Michigan Wolves SC (MI)
- Vardar (MI)
- WAZA F.C. (MI)
Midwest Developmental League competition kicked off in September 2011. Champions will be crowned in a postseason tournament in which eight qualifying teams in each age group at U-14 and above will compete. From there, Midwest Developmental League champions will compete at the inaugural NPL Champions Cup in July 2012.