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Format structure

The format for the 2021 USL Academy League Playoffs will consist of (3) group play matches and (1) Final or placement game based on group play standings. All teams will play (1) match on the final day of the 2021 USL Academy League Playoffs (Final or placement match).

  • Final Matches: If at end of regulation the match is tied, (1) 15 Minute end time period will be played. If a match is tied at the end of end time, the game will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
  • Placement Matches: If at end of regulatioin the match is tied, the game will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

POINT SYSTEM & Tie Breakers

Clubs will receive three points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss.


All Academy League game day age group roster rules apply EXCEPT: No PT-Senior Team over-age players will be allowed to compete in the 2021 Academy League Playoffs.


Each team must register a minimum of (16) players and no more than (23) players on a teams 2022 Academy League roster. Academy League rosters must be finalized no less than three weeks from the start of the tournament.


Each team can select a maximum of 18 players (11 starters and seven substitutes) for its official match roster.

Eligible Players: Players that are approved and show on your master roster on Academy League team page AND have a player headshot attributed to the roster page. Player identification/verification via roster page is mandatory.

Ineligible Players: Any players that are on your Academy League Team page that are missing player headshots.

Illegal Players: Any player that has not been approved by the USL Academy League Committee and does not appear on your Academy League Roster.


Teams are allowed a maximum of seven normal substitutions per game to be used over the course of three moments, excluding half-time, but including cooling and/or drink breaks.

Additionally, the USL Academy has implemented the concussion substitutes initiative. This new initiative allows teams to make up to two concussion substitutions during a match to replace players with concussions or suspected concussions, regardless of the number of normal substitutions already used. If a team elects to use a concussion substitution, its opponent will receive an additional substitution and opportunity.


Both the home team and visiting team will be allowed a maximum of 15 individuals on their respective club benches (seven named substitute players, five non-dressing players [must be in club polo and pants] and three staff members).