Carolina Core Football Club, the new Major League Soccer team in High Point, just announced that it’s holding a Youth Academy program that will be free for “elite” youth players.

The soccer team, which will play in the downtown stadium built for the High Point Rockers baseball team, is trying to hone young talent for years to come, and one way to do that is to start training talented young local soccer players.

The program – which will be aptly named Carolina Core FC Academy – will create two teams that will compete in Major League Soccer’s NEXT league. That development league was established in 2022 to help provide soccer talent for future years.

The Carolina Core Soccer Foundation was created with “the intention of bringing the sport of soccer to NC Core youth players without having to worry about the financial barriers normally associated with high level youth soccer.”

Developing young players in the NEXT league is estimated to cost about $20,000 per player – however, all the player expenses for MLS NEXT will be covered through individual and corporate donations as well as through periodic fundraisers.

This will allow the country’s most talented youths to compete against each other – and it will also give them a chance to travel around the US and Canada as they play their league and tournament games.

Carolina Core Soccer Foundation Executive Director Eddie Pope said that, this way, the best players can participate no matter what type of financial situations they and their families are in.

“As a club, it has always been important for us to remove all barriers to access for our MLS Next program,” Pope stated in a Sunday, June 11 press release announcing the academy. “A player’s socio-economic status certainly shouldn’t determine whether or not he makes it to the professional level.  For us, the pro-player-pathway will always be an equitable proposition available to anyone who’s good enough.”

Currently, the NEXT league includes 590 teams with over 11,000 players across the United States and Canada.

The Carolina Core Soccer Foundation was established with the stated mission of “ensuring access to high quality programs in central North Carolina as it promotes and enhances the development of youth players on and off the field, building individual leadership and strengthening communities.”

Its leadership board includes Leah Hazelwood, Alex Moore, Manny Pereda, Julie Hill, Andy Smith and David Upchurch.