February 8, 2024, | Courtesy of www.mlssoccer.com
The 2024 MLS NEXT Pro schedule is out!
Beginning on March 15, the league's third season will feature two new independent clubs – Carolina Core FC and Chattanooga FC – alongside 27 MLS affiliates (29 clubs overall), while also expanding on the innovative “pick-your-opponent" playoff format introduced last year.
A 28-match schedule (14 home/14 away) awaits every team over 30 weeks, with each looking to replicate Austin FC II's 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup-winning campaign. Clubs face each divisional opponent three times, as well as other intra-conference rivals.
How to watch MLS NEXT Pro
The majority of regular-season matches, plus all Decision Day matches, playoff matches and MLS NEXT Pro Cup, will be available to watch live via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. The remainder of regular-season matches will stream live on mlsnextpro.com.
Opening Weekend & Decision Day 2024
Beginning March 15, opening weekend will feature 14 matches. That builds towards Decision Day on Oct. 6, when 28 of the league's 29 clubs will play to determine final playoff positioning for the eight teams in each conference who make the postseason.
For Decision Day, Eastern Conference matches will kick off at 1 pm ET, followed by the Western Conference at 4 pm ET. All Decision Day matches will air live via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Expanded "Pick-Your-Opponent" Playoffs format
The 2024 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs will once again feature the “pick-your-opponent” format that debuted during the 2023 postseason. This year will feature:
More teams qualifying for the playoffs
More teams making selections
More knockout matches being played
Eight teams will qualify for the playoffs from each conference (16 total), with seeds No. 1-4 in each conference hosting and selecting their opponents in the first round. In the second round, the highest remaining seed in each conference will select an opponent from any of the remaining three teams. This year’s postseason will see 15 total matches, including MLS NEXT Pro Cup.
New clubs in 2024
Two new clubs will compete in MLS NEXT Pro for the 2024 season.
Carolina Core FC: Led by MLS legends Eddie Pope (chief sporting officer) and Roy Lassiter (head coach), Carolina play their inaugural match on March 17 at Crown Legacy FC (5 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).
Chattanooga FC: Helmed by sporting director/head coach Rod Underwood, Chattanooga make their league debut on March 16 vs. Huntsville City FC (3 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).
With two clubs joining MLS NEXT Pro, the Eastern Conference will feature updated divisions in 2024. The former Central Division is now the Southeast Division, in addition to other changes:
Crown Legacy FC move from Northeast Division to Southeast Division
Carolina Core FC and Chattanooga FC join Southeast Division
FC Cincinnati 2, Columbus Crew 2 and Chicago Fire II move from Central Division (now Southeast Division) to Northeast Division
WESTERN CONFERENCE - 14 teams
Austin FC II
LA Galaxy II
Colorado Rapids 2
Houston Dynamo 2
North Texas SC
Sporting KC II
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
St Louis CITY2
EASTERN CONFERENCE - 15 teams
Atlanta United 2
New England Revolution II
Huntsville City FC
Inter Miami CF II
New York Red Bulls II
Orlando City B
Philadelphia Union II
Crown Legacy FC
Carolina Core FC
FC Cincinnati 2
Columbus Crew 2
Chicago Fire FC II