By Official Florida FC

The Jacksonville Armada announced it will join MLS Next Pro in time for the 2025 season on Thursday afternoon at Jacksonville City Hall.

MLS Next Pro is a development league that is home to the reserve teams for 27 of Major League Soccer’s 29 teams. Currently, all of the Next Pro teams are affiliated with MLS clubs, but the Armada will join as an independent team that will not have a direct affiliation with a MLS club.

MLS Next Pro president Charles Altchek, left, and Jacksonville Armada owner Robert Palmer, right, unveil a scarf announcing the club will compete in MLS Next Pro in 2025.

MLS Next Pro president Charles Altchek says the Armada are the third independent club to join the league. However, others should join in the coming months and years.

The Armada played as an amateur side in the National Premier Soccer League for the last five years. The club participated in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup and advanced to the second round.

Armada officials told reporters the team expects to break ground on its stadium in January 2024.

Disclosure: Official Florida FC founder and editor Will Brown reported this story for WJCT Public Media and Jacksonville Today.