In a new location in 2023, MLS NEXT Fest will be held at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. from December 5-10
NEW YORK (Friday, December 1, 2023) – In one of the largest events of the 2023-24 MLS NEXT season, over 350 of the best youth soccer teams from across the U.S. and Canada will compete at the third-annual MLS NEXT Fest. The six-day event will feature a new location for 2023 as matches will be played at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. With nearly 600 matches, MLS NEXT Fest provides an opportunity for North America’s top youth talent to be seen by 300 different college, national team, and professional scouts.
The MLS NEXT Fest Showcase will feature over 350 MLS NEXT teams in four different age groups (U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-19). All teams will play three games in four days and matches are scheduled based on division, competition in past events, and competitive standings from the 2023-24 MLS NEXT regular season in order to allow clubs to play a variety of different teams from across the country. Players participating in MLS NEXT Fest are also eligible to be selected for MLS NEXT Fest Best Of matches – three games across different age groups from Dec. 7-8 in which standout players will compete against one another.
Additionally, MLS NEXT will also feature two ‘Uncommitted Matches’ on December 7, which will provide a unique opportunity for college coaches to evaluate some of the top players in the U-19 age group who have not yet made their collegiate decisions. The Uncommitted Matches will be held in an East vs. East and West vs. West format with 22 players per team.
“MLS NEXT Fest has rapidly become the premier scouting event for MLS clubs, college coaches, and National Team evaluators, and we are thrilled to have the most talented young players from nearly 400 teams competing in Phoenix throughout this week,” said Justin Bokmeyer, General Manager, MLS NEXT.
Players at MLS NEXT Fest will have the opportunity to be scouted by various organizations and coaches from 192 different colleges. Furthermore, nine MLS NEXT Match Evaluators – an assembled group of current and former professional players and coaches – will be evaluating matches at the event. Match Evaluators will attend various games and assess the quality of play while pinpointing top-performing players at each age group. The group will include notable current MLS players Evan Bush (Columbus Crew), Omar Gonzalez (New England Revolution), and Jimmy Maurer (FC Dallas). Former MLS players Kofi Opare, Dillon Powers, and Amobi Okugo will also participate in the program at MLS NEXT Fest. Alumni of the program have progressed into coaching or administration roles within MLS and MLS NEXT clubs.