For soccer development, youth soccer leagues are very significant for your child by which young soccer players learn many gaming strategies, skills, team works, etc. In the United States, there are many different youth soccer leagues for different age stages.

So, if you want to choose one league for your child, you need to understand which youth soccer league is best for your child in each age group. This article will give you an ultimate guide for the parents. So, without any further ado, let’s get into the discussion. 

Youth Soccer Leagues in the US

As many youth soccer leagues exist for different age groups in the US, let’s start with the youngest ages. The US Soccer Federation regulates all these soccer leagues. For age groups U6 to U8, soccer players are only allowed to have Local Recreational Leagues. Next U9 age group will get access to Local Competitive Leagues. 

From the beginning of the age U13, all the Regional and National Competitive Opportunities are available for the high-level players. There are many regional and national competitive options in this age range. These are as follows:

  • National League,
  • MLS Next,
  • National Premier League (NPL),
  • Elite Clubs National League (ECNL),
  • Girls Academy League (GA),
  • The Development Player League (DPL).

Which Youth Soccer League is Best for You?

If you notice the following youth soccer league, you will find all of those almost the same. However, they are slightly different if we consider the structure. Now the question is, which one is best for you? This answer fully depends on your child’s goal and how long your child wants to go with soccer. Now let’s divide the best youth soccer league on the basis of the ultimate goal of the players.

High School Soccer

If your child’s ultimate goal is to play high school soccer, then the National League and National Premier League (NPL) are enough. That means these two soccer leagues will be best for you. In these two leagues, the competition level is sufficiently higher. The national league is under the USYS, which has 13 regional conferences. All teams earn their conferences on the basis of success in competitive opportunities. 

On the other hand, the National Premier League falls the US Club Soccer with 19 member leagues. If any club wants to participate in the NPL, they have to put a team in every age group. Considering all these issues, these two leagues are best for high school soccer. Besides, the commitments are much more manageable here, which is appropriate for less high school soccer.  

College Soccer

If the player’s ultimate goal is to play college soccer, on the female side, Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) is the best option. It is much higher than the National League if you consider the commitments. Besides, here the rules and restrictions are also a little bit strict. You will get a better organization in this league, and exposure is also confirmed. 

On the other hand, there is a conflict between the two leagues in choosing the best one on the male side. Both MLS Next and the male division of ECNL deserve to be the best ones here. MLS Next provides the opportunity to be a pro soccer player and get into the national team. Both have extremely high competition.

So, if your child gets into any of those, it will be good for boosting his skills and other soccer development. Besides, the commitment level is also extremely higher here. So, if your target is college soccer, you can definitely choose any of these. 

Professional Soccer

For being a professional soccer player, the best leagues for you are ECNL on the girls’ side and MLS Next on the boys’ side. The best way to become a professional soccer player for girls is through the college ranking.

So, by joining this league at the college level, your child will be able to fulfill her goal to be a professional player. On the other hand, players of the MLS Next who are good at ranking in college get priority to be professional players. 

National Team

The ultimate goal of a soccer player is to be on the national team. There are two leagues that can help to attain these goals. These are MLS Next for boys and GA for girls. Both the leagues have the ultimate level of competition and commitment. So, you can join your child in these clubs to fulfill their dream. 


So, these are mainly the division of the best youth soccer leagues considering the players’ ultimate goal. However, it doesn’t mean any national player can come from National League or National Premier League.

Considering the best environment, competition and commitment level, we have chosen which youth soccer league is best for you. You can definitely follow this guide to join the best league considering your child’s best interest and ultimate goal as a parent.