CLEVELAND — Professional soccer is returning to Cleveland.
On Monday, the Cleveland Soccer Group announced that this city has landed an MLS Next Pro expansion team. The announcement was made at Pins Mechanical Company on W. 25th St. just ahead of the U.S. Men's National Team's 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Wales.
Cleveland's team will begin play in 2025.
Launched in 2022, MLS Next Pro is a professional soccer league that shares an affiliation with Major League Soccer (MLS). The league, which will expand from 21 teams to 28 teams in 2023, consists of 27 reserve sides for MLS clubs and the independent Rochester New York FC.
The league is classified as part of the third tier of the United States soccer league system and aims to "offer new opportunities to players, coaches, referees, and sports business professionals." Among the league's stated goals are accelerating the future of soccer in North America and creating an integrated path to MLS and beyond.
In addition to a video message from Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, the following individuals spoke at Monday's announcement:
- Michael Murphy, President of the Cleveland Soccer Group
- David Gilbert, President & CEO of Destination Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
- Justin Morrow, Northeast Ohio native and former MLS player
More sports coverage from WKYC:
- Lights! Camera! Action! Behind the scenes with Myles Garrett for a Taco Bell commercial
- Darius Garland scores 25, Cleveland Cavaliers blast Miami Heat 113-87
- Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett laments a 'lack of importance' in practice on forcing turnovers
- No. 8 Ohio State women's basketball improves to 4-0 with 99-43 rout of McNeese
- JIMMY'S TAKE: Jim Donovan says Cleveland Browns' season 'is gone right now' following loss to Buffalo Bills
- Knocked down: Cleveland Browns fall to 3-7 with 31-23 loss to Buffalo Bills
- Qatar opens the World Cup with theme of 'bridging distances'
- FIFA revenue hits $7.5B for current World Cup period
- Tyler Adams to captain US, youngest at this year's World Cup
- Neighbors, team execs and more help Buffalo Bills reach the airport ahead of game against Cleveland Browns
- No. 2 Ohio State holds off Terps 43-30, Michigan next
- Thumb fracture could sideline Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love
- Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills: Preview, point spread, how to watch
- No. 3 Michigan RB Blake Corum grabs left knee, briefly leaves game
- 9 Buckeyes out vs. Maryland including Miyan Williams, Jaxon Smith-Njigba
- FIFA head says fans 'will survive' without beer at World Cup