The Elite Academy League has been born out of the West playing inside USYS and Cal South, starting with the Southwest Division forming the “MLS Elite” extended player pool/reserve league. The league will continue to build off the standards of the former DA and now the “MLS Elite”. This league will keep the standards, the prestige, and maintain each club’s high level program. This program being launched will build off of every valued principle, tested and proven within the DA; and is committed to being the top player development league in the United States. This program will replicate the DA program in all the best aspects of the former program, but with the added benefit of new improvements and innovations as determined by the collective experience and knowledge of the elite club members.


The Elite Academy League is composed of member clubs primarily from the new “MLS Elite” Academy as well as other top competitive clubs, recommended by the conferences, and admitted by the Elite Academy League Technical Group.

The Elite Academy League is an Elite platform developed to address the needs of its membership primarily assisting with developing top players inside the elite club’s player pool. It allows the member clubs of the “MLS Elite,” to work together to promote the highest standards in competitive soccer, and integrate both leagues with this common goal and direction.

By unifying clubs from within the conferences, we have found a way to maintain the defining standards of the former DA, with the new enhanced standards of “MLS Elite.” This integration further presents long needed flexibility in two key areas; (1) permission for all players to participate in High School Soccer and, (2) revising the substitution rules to encourage clubs to better utilize their player pools, especially when showcasing their players to college coaches


The Elite Academy League has a mission to maintain the standards that exist inside the “MLS Elite” league, bridging the gap and developing the player pool in the most effective manner to promote advancement of qualified players.


Our vision is to advance the player pool who have shown and developed the skills necessary to progress to the highest level of play. This league provides and fosters a vertical integration approach, leading to direct access and movement into the next level of play, with the “MLS Elite” clubs. This league will serve to provide a seamless pathway of development for all top players who are motivated to establish themselves at the elite level, for competitive youth soccer, the collegiate environment, and beyond.