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DENVER, COLORADO - MLS NEXT Pro announced today its first international competition, the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Invitational, taking place later this month in the Salt Lake City area. MLS NEXT Pro’s Real Monarchs, Colorado Rapids 2 and Toronto FC II will play Chelsea FC Under-21s and Wolves Under-21s from England’s Premier League 2 (PL2) competition.

“International competition is a priority for our league. There are a lot of benefits, both on and off the field, that we are excited about,” said Ali Curtis, SVP of Competition & Operations, MLS NEXT Pro. “This year is the start to a competition that we hope to grow in the years ahead. We look forward to welcoming both Chelsea and Wolves to the U.S. and appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Premier League 2.”

As one of the participants in the competition, Colorado Rapids 2 will face off against PL2’s Wolves Under-21 side on Wednesday, July 27, at Zions Bank Stadium. Fellow MLS NEXT Pro sides Real Monarchs and Toronto FC II will also take on Wolves Under-21, as well as Chelsea FC’s Under-21 team, in matches that will take place at Zions Bank Stadium and Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium from July 17-27. Kickoff times for all matches will be announced at a later date.

“We feel that the opportunity to compete against international competition is an important element in the development of our players,” said Brian Crookham, Rapids 2 general manager.  “Wolves are a highly respected opponent that will give us the chance to measure our players against talent from one of the most exciting leagues in the world. This is an exciting competition that we hope paves the way for future collaboration around the globe.”

Points will be earned according to results as in MLS NEXT Pro regular season matches and the league with the most total points accumulated in head-to-head competition will be crowned Invitational Champion.

Fans in the U.S. and abroad will be able to watch the four MLS NEXT Pro vs. PL2 matches exclusively on mlsnextpro.com. Click here to view the full schedule for the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Invitational. For fans interested in attending the matches, tickets are currently available for purchase online through RSL.com/tickets.

About MLS NEXT Pro

Launched in March 2022 by Major League Soccer, MLS NEXT Pro is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States and Canada that completes the player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams.  With 21 Clubs competing during the inaugural season – 20 MLS-affiliated and one independent club, Rochester New York FC – MLS NEXT Pro will grow the game through innovation and diversity by bringing professional soccer to new markets, creating career opportunities for professionals on and off the field, and providing communities with a strong sense of pride. Additional MLS-affiliated and independent clubs will join MLS NEXT Pro in the years ahead. Beginning in 2023, MLS NEXT Pro matches will be carried live on the Apple TV app as part of the monumental partnership between Apple and Major League Soccer. Through that partnership, from early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app. For more information about MLS NEXT Pro, visit mlsnextpro.com.

About Premier League 2

Premier League 2 (PL2) is an Under-21 competition which has a focus on technicality, physicality and intensity to bring club academy players as close as possible to a first-team experience.

PL2 is part of a suite of competitions that aims to best prepare players to make the transition from academy to senior football. This includes a variety of domestic cup competitions, matches involving senior opposition (such as through the EFL Trophy) and competitions against international peers.

The league is formed of two tiers, Division 1 and Division 2, with 14 teams in each, and the factor of promotion and relegation. For more information on PL2, visit premierleague.com