Austin FC Academy started its third campaign and this season Los Verdecitos added two new teams — U-12 and U-17 — to its current U-13, U-14, and U-15 lineup.
All but the club’s U-12 team compete in MLS NEXT — the high profile youth development program started by major league soccer in September 2020.
For Austin FC Academy, the season starts September 5, 2021 and runs for 10-months.
The end game for the U-15 and U-17 squads is MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs held in July 2022. The U-13 and U-14 teams do not compete in playoff qualifications, but instead take part in the MLS NEXT Showcase in July.
There are high expectations swirling in Austin after last year’s ATXFC jr clubs finished at or near the top of their respective divisions, with the U-15s making it all the way to the quarter finals of MLS NEXT Cup.
2021-2022 schedule for Austin FC Academy
In 2021-2022, Austin FC Academy teams will play 20 matches over 10 months.
Most matches take place in the Lone Star state, with some out-of-state travel to Colorado, Ohio, and Kansas. The full schedule is posted online for all U-13 and up age groups playing in MLS NEXT.
Over the next 10 months, lil’ El Tree will play clubs from MLS professional academies, USL academies, and independent elite academies. Obvious rivals FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, and Columbus Crew stand out on the Verdes regular season schedule.
|Colorado Rapids||MLS Academy|
|Columbus Crew||MLS Academy|
|FC Cincinnati||MLS Academy|
|FC Dallas||MLS Academy|
|Houston Dynamo FC||MLS Academy|
|Minnesota United FC||MLS Academy|
|RGV FC||USL Academy|
|RISE Soccer Club||Elite Academy|
|San Antonio FC||USL Academy|
|Sporting Kansas City||MLS Academy|
|Solar SC||Elite Academy|
|Texas United||Elite Academy|
When they’re not away playing matches, the Academy teams calls the new $45 million St. David’s Performance Center training facility home. It’s a unique opportunity for the boys to train at a state-of-the-art facility alongside the senior team.
Who plays for Austin FC Academy?
As mentioned, U-12 and U-17 are newly formed squads, while U-13, U-14, and U-15 teams underwent significant roster changes in the offseason, bringing in promising new talent from outside of Central Texas and the state.
Two youth players with recognizable last names to Austin FC fans are Gavin Wolff (U-14), son of head coach Josh Wolff, and Joah Reyna (U-15), son of sporting director Claudio Reyna.
Will we see Academy players on the senior team?
MLS Homegrown Player Rule allows MLS teams to sign local players from their own development academies directly to their first team rosters as an incentive to invest in their academy program.
There is no limit to the number of Homegrown Players a club may sign in any given year.
To be eligible as a homegrown player, the player must participate in the club’s academy for at least one year. These academy players do not count against the MLS salary budget if they are assigned supplemental roster slots, and they can earn a higher salary than the league minimum.
Clubs may use up to $200,000 of their currently available Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to sign new homegrown players to their first MLS contract.
Austin FC has said it expects to sign 1 to 2 homegrown players a year once the Academy is fully established.