About MLDA Pro Soccer

MLDA Division 3.5 Professional Soccer

Creating a new category of professional soccer in the United States, the Major League Development Association (MLDA) is helping to bridge the gap between US Soccer Division III and Division IV. The MLDA will launch a 3.5 division men's professional soccer league in 2018/ 2019, behind Major League Soccer (MLS). This will provide fans in new markets a full year professional soccer experience. 

The MLDA was formed to provide an attractive alternative for teams looking to compete at the professional level in the United States. The league operates under the minimum standards of United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Division III and selected USSF Division II and USSF Division IV minimum standards.

The MLDA will be assisting to grow the game in over 100 potential markets, with targeted populations ranging from 100k  to 1.5M, and giving millions of fans a professional year round soccer club to call their own.



The MLDA Footprint

The MLDA will be a National League with Regional Conferences, which will provide a high level of competition. The league will be accepting applications from all United States Markets. 

At a minimum, the MLDA will plan to launch no later than 2019 consisting of 6 to 12 teams in the following Major and MInor Core markets on the East Coast.

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina

League Structure


  • MLDA II will target to have a minimum of five to ten teams by 2020 for the inaugural season.  
  • MLDA teams must participate in all representative CONCACAF competitions for which they are eligible.

Season Calendar

  • The MLDA uses a split season schedule taking place from April to Early November, including a four week break in July. Similar to the North American Soccer League, the spring and fall champions, along with the two teams with the best combined spring and fall records meet in a four team single elimination tournament known as the MLDA National Championship.

Markets and Stadiums

  • By 2023, U.S.‐based teams must be located in at least two different time zones in the continental United States.  By 2026, U.S.‐based teams must be located in at least the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones.
  • All league stadiums must have a minimum seating capacity of 1,500. High School stadiums are not permitted. Soccer specific stadiums are preferred.


MLDA franchise owners maintain an active role in the league through the MLDA executive advisory committee. Each conference selects two representatives that will help develop strategy and establish policies for the league. The league will have up to 4 conferences and up to 8 executive committee representatives.


The MLDA is a nationally recognized league with regional travel to help reduce team expenses.

Ownership Requirements

  • Each team ownership group must demonstrate the financial capacity to operate the team for three years under a minimum annual operating budget of $250,000.  As part of the process of demonstrating financial capacity, each ownership group must provide detailed financial history, verifiable individual financial net worth statements for each member of its ownership group owning at least a five percent (5%) interest in the team and projections (including a detailed budget) for the team to the Federation in a form satisfactory to the Federation.
  • In addition, each team must have and its governing legal documents must designate one principal owner with a controlling interest who owns at least 35% of the team and has authority to bind the team.  Such principal owner must have an individual net worth of at least one million US dollars (US $1,000,000) exclusive of the value of ownership interests in the league or team and primary personal residences. The ownership group must also include one member with at least 5% interest who has an indiviaul networth of ten million dollars. The principal owner, together with all other owners, should target a combined individual net worth of at least twenty million US dollars (US $20,000,000).