The Rapids Academy is set to hit the road to compete in this year’s MLS NEXT Flex this weekend in Boyds, Maryland. The event will run from May 12 to 16 at the Maryland SoccerPlex and will feature the best 256 teams in MLS NEXT.
The event includes 64 teams in each of the U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-19 age groups that qualified for the competition based on their points-per-game rank in the 2022-23 MLS NEXT regular-season division standings. Qualifying teams were drawn into 16 groups of four, and the winners of each of these groups will automatically qualify for the 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.
The 80-minute U-15 matches and 90-minute U-16, U-17, and U-19 matches that end regulation in a draw will move to penalty kicks. The winner of penalty kicks will earn two points, while the loser will take home one point.
The Rapids will see representation from both their U-15 and U-17 sides during the event.
Both teams' schedules are as follows:
Saturday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. MT - Phoenix Rising FC vs Colorado Rapids
Sunday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m. MT - Colorado Rapids vs FC Boston Bolts
Tuesday, May 16 at 8:45 a.m. MT - Sockers FC vs Colorado Rapids
Saturday, May 13 at 7:00 a.m. MT - Colorado Rapids vs Baltimore Armour
Sunday, May 14 at 7:00 a.m. MT - RSL Arizona vs Colorado Rapids
Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 a.m. MT - Southern Soccer Academy vs Colorado Rapids
Find the entire tournament's schedule here.
How to Watch
Eighteen MLS NEXT Flex games will stream live on MLS Season Pass, the subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer on the Apple TV app, available in more than 100 countries and regions.
Rapids fans can tune in on MLS Season Pass to watch the Rapids Academy U-17 team take on RSL Arizona on Sunday, May 14, at 7:00 a.m. MT. The match hub for Sunday's Rapids Academy U-17 game versus RSL Arizona can be found here.
MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs
The MLS NEXT season concludes with the 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, which will be held from June 17 to 25 at Toyota Soccer Center and MoneyGram Soccer Park in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
For the single-elimination competition, 32 teams per age group will qualify based on regular-season play or by winning their group at MLS NEXT Flex. Teams that do not qualify for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs can participate in the MLS NEXT Cup Showcase, which will be held at the same venue.
MLS NEXT Flex will also provide an opportunity for North America’s top youth talent to be seen by college, youth national team and professional coaches, as well as scouts and evaluators, in a single location. The MLS Match Evaluator program, which features former professional players who are trained on-site to identify top talent, will continue at both MLS NEXT Flex and in the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.