MLS NEXT Pro Coach, Goalkeeper and Best XI Award Winners Announced


MLS NEXT Pro MVP presented by adidas to be Announced in the Coming Weeks

MLS NEXT Pro today announced the winners of three regular season awards, honoring the best in the League’s second season. Colorado Rapids 2’s Erik Bushey has been named Coach of the Year after leading his club to a historic turnaround in 2023. Austin FC II’s Damian Las recorded double the number of clean sheets as anyone in the League and has been rewarded with the Goalkeeper of the Year title. The Best XI is made up of the top players at each position, the members of which represent eight Clubs in MLS NEXT Pro.

All awards were voted on by the Head Coaches and Chief Soccer Officers at MLS NEXT Pro Clubs, as well as League broadcast and content teams.

Rapids 2’s head coach Erik Bushey led his team to the best record (19-4-5, 66 points) in MLS NEXT Pro this season, as well as the Frontier Division title, top seed in the Western Conference and No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. Under his guidance, Colorado was first in the League in points, wins, goals for (70), goal differential (+33) and had the best road record (10-2-2). A testament to his success was the stark turnaround from last season’s campaign, which saw Rapids 2 ranked ninth in the Western Conference (7-11-6, 31 points). This season Bushey also saw his player, Daniel Chacón, sign a Colorado Rapids First Team contract, the first in team history.

Other finalists for Coach of the Year were Columbus Crew 2’s Laurent Courtois (2022 MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Year), Sporting KC II’s Benny Feilhaber, New England Revolution II’s Clint Peay and Crown Legacy FC’s Jose Tavares.

Austin FC II goalkeeper Damian Las (16-11-0) was a key factor in his team’s success in the regular season and their No.4 seed in the Western Conference. The 21-year-old played all but one of Austin’s 28 games in 2023, playing every minute and allowing just 20 total goals. He posted a League-best 12 clean sheets and led the League in games played and started, wins, save percentage (79.2%) and goals against average (0.74). Las won Goalkeeper of the Month three times this season: in April, June and August.

Other finalists for Goalkeeper of the Year were Colorado Rapids 2’s Adam Beaudry, New York Red Bulls II’s AJ Marcucci and Crown Legacy FC’s Isaac Walker.

The 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI is as follows:

Goalkeeper (1):
Damian Las – Austin FC II

Defenders (3):
Abdoulaye Cissoko – Tacoma Defiance
Joe Hafferty – Austin FC II
João Pedro – Crown Legacy FC

Midfielders (4):
Nick Firmino – Atlanta United 2
Yosuke Hanya – Colorado Rapids 2
Ibrahim Kasule – New York Red Bulls II
Oliver Larraz – Colorado Rapids 2

Forwards (3):
Rémi Cabral – Colorado Rapids 2
Jack Lynn – Orlando City B

Nine of the Best XI players will participate in the **MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs** beginning this weekend with the Conference Quarterfinals.

Following the conclusion of the regular season on September 24, Colorado Rapids 2’s Rémi Cabral, Orlando City B’s Jack Lynn and NYCFC II’s MD Myers were crowned **MLS NEXT PRO Golden Boot** co-winners after each scoring 19 goals this season. The final award of the regular season, the MLS NEXT Pro MVP presented by adidas, will be announced in the coming weeks during the playoffs.