By Ryan Bailey

Charlotte FC’s youth prospects will conclude their inaugural season at the single-elimination national championship tournament

CHARLOTTE—The U17 Academy have qualified for the inaugural MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, which will take place in the Dallas Metroplex from June 26-July 3.

The top 128 teams in the country will participate in the championship tournament across four age groups. Charlotte FC’s U17 squad will feature in a 32-team single-elimination tournament, which is being held at FC Dallas’ facility in Frisco, Texas.

“It’s been a really good first year for us, and the Playoffs are a fantastic final test” says Academy Manager and U17 Head Coach Dan Lock.

“With a brand-new Academy set-up and all the challenges that Covid has presented, it’s been a very successful year for our players.”

Charlotte FC finished second in the MLS NEXT Southeast U17 division in its first-ever season and qualified for the Playoffs on a points-per-game basis as 10th seed.

The team will face St. Louis FC in the opening match on June 26. The winner of that match will progress to the Round of 16, and will play either NYCFC or hosts FC Dallas.

Twenty-five matches will be live-streamed on MLSsoccer.com, with six matches taking place on FC Dallas’ stadium field in Frisco.

“We’re a young team: the majority of our players are U16, and we have two U15s playing regularly for the U17s,” says Lock. “To qualify for playoffs is a great achievement, but we want to take that a step further and go as far as we can.”