US Youth Soccer is excited to announce National League P.R.O., a new high-level national competition platform, which will feature the top 14U-19U Boys and Girls teams in the USYS National League competing for the opportunity to advance to the annual USYS National Championships.
National League P.R.O. features an emphasis on the Player, Recruitment and Opportunity. The competition builds on the highly successful traditional format of the National League — providing an optimal environment for player development, exposure to college coaches and opportunities for advancement to the National Championships.
“We are thrilled to enhance and strengthen the overall prestige of the USYS National League footprint through National League P.R.O. This reimagined format will provide clubs, teams, and most importantly — players — with an ideal platform to play top competition while pursuing their soccer aspirations,” USYS CEO Skip Gilbert said. “The focus on the player, recruitment and opportunity aligns with the overall vision of USYS, and National League P.R.O. demonstrates our commitment in providing the best competitive format for today’s top players.”
National League P.R.O. is a national league competition for 14U-19U Boys and Girls that features 48 teams per age group. Within each age group, teams are placed into six groups of eight, with each side competing in seven games over the course of the season.
Teams will attend two of three national events, where they will each play three games per event. For the 2021-2022 season, the first national event is expected to take place around early December and feature all teams. Half of the teams will attend the second event around early February, and the remaining half of the teams will attend the third event around mid-March. The 14U age group will have differing dates for its national events. An announcement with exciting details on specific dates and locations will be coming soon.
To round out the seven-game season, teams will play one local game against a National League Conference opponent or a local cross-Conference opponent.
All automatic qualifying spots for National League P.R.O. will come from the top-tier Team vs. Team and Club vs. Club divisions of the 13 National League Conferences. The qualifying spots will be evenly distributed across the country to allow for 12 Conference teams from each region of the country to generate the 48 teams in each gender age group.
Specific details about the automatic qualifying spots will be announced in the coming weeks. For any open spots that are not automatically filled, an application process will be available for interested teams.
Automatic qualifying spots and open team selections will be made with a goal of maintaining a geographic balance that will allow for the local matches to take place within each National League P.R.O. bracket. High school soccer seasons will be taken into consideration when selecting and grouping teams in order deconflict schedules as best as possible.
ADVANCEMENT TO NATIONALS
In each gender age group, the top two teams from each of the six National League P.R.O. groups will advance to the USYS National Championships. The 12 National League representatives will join the four USYS Regional Champions in a field of 16 to compete for the USYS National Championship.
“We value the feedback of the club leaders in our soccer community, and we believe National League P.R.O. provides the competition format in which clubs around the country will be proud to participate,” said Chris Webb, USYS Director of Operations and Event Management. “Giving teams the opportunity to earn their place in National League P.R.O. each year ensures the highest level of competition, and we think it will produce a great experience for all of the players."
National League P.R.O. will take the place of the National League Playoffs and comprise the national tier of the National League, along with the National League Showcase Series. The National League Conferences will continue to offer the primary league competition for the majority of teams, while having increased connectivity to National League P.R.O. through the qualification pathways and local games.
More information on National League P.R.O., including qualification slots, national event dates and locations, and the team application, will be available in the coming weeks.