Why this matters
Jeff Rueter, staff writer: Since 2013, MLS has housed its reserve teams in the USL. Since the USL became the country’s second division in 2018, its independent growth left many MLS affiliates behind in terms of attendance and marketability. That, coupled with MLS’s desire to bring all youth development facets in-house, led to Tuesday’s news break at The Athletic. Now, MLS has full say over its clubs’ operations from U-13 all the way to the first team.
Rueter: MLS is aiming to begin play in 2021, with many details in terms of formats and participating teams still to be finalized. While Orlando, Philadelphia and Portland are certain to leave the USL ahead of 2021, it’s unclear how many MLS teams will pull their affiliates now that a reserves league is imminent.
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