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Real Jersey FC joins new MLS youth development league

South Jersey club will field two teams in the new academy league

Jon Kopytko gets a cooler dumped on him after Real Jersey FC wins a national title in 2019
U.S. Youth Soccer

Real Jersey FC will be joining the Philadelphia Union and other area academy clubs in the new MLS youth development league.

The Medford, N.J.-based club will have two teams in the new league at the youngest age groups coached by Jon Koptyko (2007) and John Napoli (2008).

“It’s a true testament of how hard our staff have worked to prove that player numbers are not the most important thing, it’s what you’re doing to develop your players in the club,” Club President Rusty Aaronson said.

A boutique club that draws from players in Medford and surrounding areas, Real Jersey FC is an official development partner of the Philadelphia Union and was where Brenden Aaronson and his younger brother Paxten Aaronson both played before joining the Union Academy. Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Romero, a YSC Academy grad, is another standout former player.

Three players from the club are among the new recruits to the Union Academy for the upcoming season — Jamir Johnson (2008), Kenyon Carter (2007) and Anthony Washington, (2007) — who will get a chance to compete against their former club in the new MLS league, which is replacing the U.S. Soccer Development Academy that folded in April.

“We will continue to follow our vision and stay true to our commitment of player pathways and developing quality up and down the boys and girls age groups,” Aaronson said.

Real Jersey FC is one of 19 new clubs announced earlier this week. The Union, FC Delco and PA Classics were previously announced as founding clubs. All three were part of the boys Development Academy.

The competition will encompass more than 11,000 players across 113 clubs and six age groups, including 30 professional MLS academies, 5 USL academies and 78 additional elite academies.