MLS NEXT on TikTok | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

MLS NEXT on TikTok

We Are Social US Sport, MLS

The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • TikTok Presence



Elevating MLS NEXT from an unproven league within the crowded online youth soccer space to becoming the preeminent youth soccer program in North America, we transformed @MLSNEXT into a dynamic hub that empowers league players to evolve into co-creators, contributors, and collaborators. Our integration into the online youth soccer community was seamless, as we engaged authentically by embracing their language, participating in their trends, and wholeheartedly celebrating their achievements.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The insights derived from our account provide valuable lessons for the industry on effectively communicating with the emerging generation of sports fans. As the sports world grapples with understanding how Gen Z and Gen Alpha engage with sports on social media, our findings reveal that they aren’t seeking inspiration; they crave recognition. Our most impactful content illustrates that a direct sales approach falls short of capturing their attention. Instead, they want to be celebrated for their on-field achievements and the lifestyle they lead beyond it. Their focus is not on becoming the next generation; rather, they aspire to define the generation itself. This sentiment is evident in the players they’re interested in – athletes they believe they can emulate in the next 2-3 years, not the first-ballot Hall of Famers.


Our goal in creating a safe, relatable space on @MLSNEXT TikTok was to establish ourselves as an authority in the youth soccer domain, cultivating a sense of camaraderie similar to that shared among friends or fellow players. Before the launch of our account, youth soccer content was limited to individual player profiles. We set out to create a centralized hub that effortlessly combines all the varied offerings the league provides, delivering players a comprehensive experience within one unified spot.

Strategy & Execution

Unlike the conventional approach of leagues in addressing the modern sports fan, MLS NEXT organically integrated itself into the online youth soccer community as a peer. By aligning with the latest trends embraced by young athletes and creating our own, we’ve successfully matched the voice and tone of our target demographic. We’ve personified MLS NEXT on TikTok to resonate with the posting style of your favorite teammate, allowing us to engage with our audience in a lively and aspirational manner. Recognizing the desire of these young players for content mirroring their feeds, we curated user-generated content from prominent league players, showcasing player culture, highlighting skillful moments, and celebrating players turning pro. Throughout this process, we exclusively utilized platform tools to replicate how our audience creates content.


  • We Are Social US Sport


Marina Drab
Account Manager, Sport
We Are Social + Narrative

Julien Llerena
We Are Social + Narrative

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.