Philadelphia Union Academy learns pathway for MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs


Philadelphia Union Academy in conjunction with MLS NEXT announced on Tuesday the schedule for the 2024 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs which will be held for the first time in tournament history in Nashville, Tenn.

All three of the Union Academy's MLS NEXT squads are bound for the Music City with the U15s and U16s earning their spot at MLS NEXT Flex while the U17s secured their spot via league play as division winners.

The U17s will face off against Orlando City who earned their spot into the postseason via MLS NEXT Flex in which they defeated Toronto FC, TSF Academy and Barca Academy. In the regular season, the Florida side earned 28 points with a 8-6-4 record and went 1-3 at the 2024 Generation adidas Cup. The two sides will face off in the Round of 32 on Sunday, June 16th at 8PM.

The Union Academy's U16 team makes their debut against New England Football Club on Saturday, June 15th at 9:30AM. NEFC were fortunate to earn their postseason spot via the automatic spots given for regular season play in which they finished sixth in the Northeast Division but seven total teams will be participating in Nashville.

The U15s also clinched their spot for the postseason via MLS NEXT Flex and will take on Mid-America Division Champions FC United. The Chicago side went unbeaten in league play with nine wins and just a lone draw and allowed just .70 goals against during that time. The two teams will battle for a spot in the Round of 16 on Saturday, June 15th at 7:45PM.

The single-elimination knockout tournaments will run from June 15-23 at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn. with all four championship matches contested on Sunday, June 23 at Nashville SC’s GEODIS Park, the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. and Canada.

The 2024 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs is the culmination of the 2023-24 MLS NEXT season, featuring 32 of the top teams in each of the four different age groups (U-15, U-16, U-17, U-19). All 128 teams qualified for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs based on results from league play or by winning their respective group at MLS NEXT Flex, a qualifying event that took place from May 10-14. Entering the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, almost 9,000 matches have been played during the 2023-24 MLS NEXT season.

MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs matches will be 80 minutes in the U-15 age group and 90 minutes in the other three age groups. If the match is tied at the end of regulation, all games will head to penalty kicks, except for the four championship matches, which will feature two five-minute periods of extra time. If the championship matches are still tied after the extra time periods, they will then head to penalty kicks to decide a winner.

22 MLS NEXT Cup Playoff games, including all four championship matches, will stream live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, the subscription service from Apple and Major League available in more than 100 countries and regions. Across the four age groups represented in the playoffs, two round of 32 matches, two round of 16 matches, six quarterfinal games, and each of the eight semifinal contests will also be available to watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.