SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Glens became the first club in The City to have its academy earn expansion in MLS NEXT.
In addition to their current Under-13 and Under-14 younger age groups, the Glens will add U16 and U19 teams, offering local youth players an opportunity to compete in America's top youth platform in the older ages.
"This is unprecedented for San Francisco youth soccer," said SF Glens SC executive director Mike McNeill. "In the past, homegrown players had to leave the City to find the best competitive environment for them to develop and maximize their full potential. Not anymore."
The changes will take effect in the Fall 2021 season. In the Bay Area, only the San Jose Earthquakes, Sacramento Republic, Santa Cruz Breakers, DeAnza Force, Ballistic United, and Silicon Valley Soccer Academy had the distinction of fielding more than two teams in MLS NEXT. Now San Francisco finally can claim representation in that select group.
"This is really important for the continued development of our homegrown players to be able to play in these games and MLS Showcases," said Waldemar Roldan, the Glens' MLS NEXT and Academy director, in an interview with Telemundo's Carlos Mauricio Ramírez. "To have a strong club, you need a strong base, and that starts with sharpening your abilities against the best competition in the country."
With the Glens recently announcing their own soccer-specific facility—the first by and for a local club in the 120-year history of the sport in San Francisco—they've come a long way. A little over 10 years ago, the Academy was established with only two youth teams and the First Team competed in the amateur SFSFL.
Today, the First Team plays in USL League Two, and the club is the largest in San Francisco with nearly 70 teams and over 1,000 total players.
The Glens are still accepting tryout registrations for all competitive levels, including MLS NEXT. Please visit SFGlensAcademy.com/tryouts for more information.