MLS Elite Youth Development Platform

The MLS elite player development platform marks a new era for soccer development in North America. The new platform, which will include more than 8,000 players throughout the U.S. and Canada, will consist of elite year-round competition, as well as player identification initiatives, coaching education opportunities, and additional programming to create the premier player development environment. The elite academy clubs, such as RISE, that are Founding Members of the new platform have also been leaders in the development of players for college, MLS and the national teams.

Combined, MLS Academies and the elite academies joining the platform have produced more than 90 percent of the U.S. Youth National Team players in 2019, making the new platform the top destination for the best young players in North America.

With the launch of this new platform, MLS and the elite academy clubs will not only continue to develop world class players but will create a world class soccer development culture that supports and inspires elite players throughout the country. With a focus on maximizing each player’s potential, the new development platform will not only provide high-level, year-round competition for players, but will provide important programming, education and innovation in the key areas of player development:

  • Player Identification
  • Coaching
  • Environment
  • Personal Growth
  • Community Outreach

MLS Elite Youth Development Platform Map

2008 (U13): Steven Grave (
2007 (U14): Jon Burklo (
2006 (U15): Jon Burklo (
2005 (U17): Earl Barrett (
U18/U19: Earl Barrett (
*The U18/U19 team is funded and players who make this team will have $0 club fees

RISE Elite level teams are formed through a variety of evaluation methods. We scout players at games, tryouts, and invitational training sessions. Player evaluations for Elite level teams can occur at any time of the year as long as the player is not currently rostered to another team within the same league at another club. All individual elite player evaluation sessions are free of charge. 

Jon Burklo (Boys Academy Director):