CITY2 vs Houston

St Louis CITY2’s 2-0 win over Houston Dynamo 2 on June 4th was the 100th match in MLS NEXT Pro history.

Let’s take a look at what has transpired over those 100 matches…

BY THE NUMBERS
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FULL HOUSE

A sellout crowd of more than 6,000 fans witnessed the launch of MLS NEXT Pro at Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, where ST Louis CITY2 hosted the league's first independent club, Rochester New York FC. Not to mention the thousands of others around the country that tuned into the livestream broadcast on mlsnextpro.com to see MLS Great Taylor Twellman and Steve Cangialosi calling the match.

ONE COMMON GOAL

Close to 600 players from more than 70 countries make up the rosters in MLS NEXT Pro. Each individual athlete contributing to his club’s success, each with their own personal story. Coming from all walks of life: a newly sworn-in U.S. citizen; a son playing for his mom’s memory; a 17-year-old honored to play for his country; among many others. One common trait among them all: the goal of playing at the highest level of soccer in the U.S., in Major League Soccer.

Kamungo Citizenship

ON THE SIDELINES

Of the 21 clubs in MLS NEXT Pro, 40% are led by head coaches who previously played in MLS. The coaching ranks are diverse, with 25% of the clubs led by head coaches of color and 50% of the assistant coaches of diverse backgrounds. The personal interests of these men are as diverse as they are, having shared elements of their lives ranging from their Ramadan rituals to their love of martial arts.

NO TIES

One of the more exciting and newsworthy elements of the inaugural season of MLS NEXT Pro was the introduction of shootouts to decide matches. Games that remain tied at the end of regulation are decided using a traditional shootout of kicks from the penalty mark. While both clubs receive a point for the draw, the winner of the shootout receives an additional point.

COMMITTED TO CREATING OPPORTUNITIES

One of the four main pillars that drives MLS NEXT Pro is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As SVP of Competition & Operations Ali Curtis told Grant Wahl on his podcast, “we owe it to those folks, we owe it to ourselves, to be better in all ways.” The work that is being done on a daily basis in MLS and MLS NEXT Pro continues to promote progress. “We have a good staff here that is committed to that. In terms of being part of something that in 15, 20, 25 years, when you look back, you are proud of what’s been built or what you’ve been part of.”

ON THE HORIZON

Leading into the season, MLS NEXT Pro President Charles Altchek gave Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp the lowdown on the new league in this SBJ Spotlight feature. Among other items, Charles discussed what the future could hold for MLS NEXT Pro with the addition of more clubs.

Here’s to the next 100 and beyond!