The Austin FC Academy is set to kick off its third season this weekend in what is sure to be another landmark year. The Academy has already produced two successful seasons under the direction of Sporting Director Claudio Reyna and Academy GM Tyson Wahl as the Club continues to imprint itself on the Austin soccer scene. The Academy works every day to not only build better soccer players, but better people.

Austin FC is coming off its second season in which all three teams were at or near the top of the standings in the Frontier Conference, and now welcome plenty of new, talented players to the Club. There will also be two new teams competing in the Under-12 and Under-17 age groups.

Four of Austin’s five teams -- all but the U-12 team -- will be competing in MLS NEXT, which features nearly 600 teams competing in over 9,000 matches over a ten-month calendar. Top players from the country’s leading 134 clubs, including all 29 MLS Academies, will field teams in up to six age groups: U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, and U19. The 2021-22 season will allow the top prospects in the U.S. and Canada to compete in a ten-month regular season and a chance to become MLS NEXT Champions by winning the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs in July 2022. New to the second edition of the competition, the 2021-22 MLS NEXT campaign will feature two national events, a winter event and a qualifying event for the annual MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. 

Below is everything you need to know about the Austin FC Academy ahead of the 2021 season.

How long is the season?

The season kicks off this weekend when RISE Soccer Club will be visiting Austin FC’s four MLS NEXT teams (U-13, U-14, U-15, U-17). The MLS NEXT season features over 20 matches over 10 months until May 21, 2022 and the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs will take place in July 2022. There will also be a winter event with details to be announced at a later date.

What will the teams be playing for?

The U-15 and U-17 teams will look to be among the top 32 regular season teams in order to qualify for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. Austin FC’s U-15 team reached the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs quarterfinals last season. The U-13 and U-14 teams will not be competing to qualify for the Playoffs, but will take part in the MLS NEXT Showcase next July.

Who will be participating for Austin FC?

Austin FC will have four teams competing in MLS NEXT: Under-13, Under-14, Under-15 and Under-17. The Under-12 age group is a part of Pre-MLS NEXT and they will be competing against clubs from around Texas and the country.

Who will Austin FC be playing?

Austin FC’s MLS NEXT schedule is filled with teams from around Texas including RISE Soccer Club, Solar SC and Texas United. Austin will also face USL Clubs like San Antonio FC and RGV FC. The schedule is rounded out with plenty of MLS opponents including local rivals FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo FC along with FC Cincinnati, Columbus Crew, Minnesota United FC, Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids.

What are the key matchups?

The rivalry between FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo FC and Austin FC already exists at the Academy and first-team level and Austin will face off against those two clubs multiple times throughout the year.

FC Dallas: 10/30/21 @ DAL (U-13, U-14, U-15, U-17), 2/5/22 vs. DAL (U-13, U-14, U-15, U-17), 3/13/22 @ DAL (U-13, U-14), 4/2/22 vs. DAL (U-15, U-17)

Houston Dynamo FC: 9/11/21 @ HOU (U-15, U-17), 11/13/21 @ HOU (U-13, U-14, U-15, U-17), 1/15/22 vs. HOU (U-14, U-15, U-17), 3/19/22 @ HOU (U-13, U-14)

Where to follow?

You can follow each team’s progress throughout the season on and @AustinFCAcademy on Twitter and Instagram.