Monthly Awards

MLS NEXT Pro Monthly Awards: March

MLSNP monthly awards March 2024

The editorial team, several league personnel, announcers, and clubs voted on the top performers across the league during March to declare a Team, Coach, Goalkeeper, Rising Star, and Player of the Month.

The voting process entailed performances taken from MLS NEXT Pro league matches from the 2024 season's start on March 15 to March 31.

Here are the winners:

MLS NEXT Pro Team of the Month: Ventura County FC

Ventura County FC

Ventura County FC has been named the Team of the Month for March, emerging from the first three matchweeks of 2024 as the only team with nine points.

Key players such as forward Aaron Bibout, goalkeeper Brady Scott, midfielder Jonathan Perez, defender Riley Dalgado and forward Gino Vivi combined to put VCFC atop the Western Conference table heading into April. Ruben Ramos Jr. recently earned Player of Matchweek 3 honors with two goals and one assist in a 5-2 win over Tacoma Defiance.

"It's a testament to all the hard work that the team and the players put in throughout the preseason," VCFC coach Matt Taylor said of the club's Monthly Award recognition. "It's a collective effort. I think it's great when you see the process working and individual players and the team get rewarded as a part of that process."

VCFC leads MLS NEXT Pro in scoring with 10 goals while putting outstanding team cohesion on display by leading the league in total assists as a team with 14. Perez leads MLS NEXT Pro with five assists so far in 2024, while Vivi is among the top scorers in the league with three goals.

Fantastic defensive form has also guided Matt Taylor's side to a positive start to the year. VCFC allowed only four goals through three games in March, with Scott only needing to make eight saves.

MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month: Ibrahim Kasule — New York Red Bulls II

Ibrahim Kasule

New York Red Bulls II forward Ibrahim Kasule is the MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month for March. Kasule has powered Red Bulls II to a strong start, with the club sitting atop the Eastern Conference table with eight points.

Kasule supplied two goals and two assists in 180 minutes played across two games. He scored twice in a shootout win over Inter Miami II. One of his goals was a penalty kick that extended his perfect 7-for-7 streak of conversions from the spot. Kasule earned Player of Matchweek 2 thanks to his performance.

"We are thrilled to hear that Ibrahim has been named Player of the Month. His hard work day in and day out, makes him more worthy of this honor. We look forward to seeing him continue his impressive form that he has shown since he arrived last season."

Kasule burst onto the MLS NEXT Pro scene in 2023, scoring 17 goals and adding six assists as he helped Sekagya's side finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. The 20-year-old received his first first-team minutes in 2023 and also received a call-up to the senior Uganda national team in September 2023.

MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Month: Matt Taylor — Ventura County FC


Matt Taylor is MLS NEXT Pro's Coach of the Month for March. The 42-year-old guided the club to three wins in his first three games as manager. Taylor arrived at VCFC ahead of the 2024 season after serving as an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake.

Highlights of VCFC's excellent start to the season include a 5-2 win over Tacoma Defiance which featured braces for Ruben Ramos and Gino Vivi. The club also went on the road to take down Sporting Kansas City II, 3-1, in a match that featured goals from three players. VCFC has not trailed in a match so far this season.

Taylor's 4-2-3-1 formation features a strong backline which has allowed only four goals and an early academy standout in fullback Riley Dalgado. Attacking players Vivi, Jonathan Perez, and Aaron Bibout have had little trouble generating chances as the team leads the league with 10 goals.

Taylor is familiar with soccer in Southern California, having previously spent time as an assistant coach with the UCLA Bruins. His playing career includes MLS stints with the Kansas City Wizards, Chivas USA, and Portland Timbers. His playing experience also includes stints with several clubs in Germany.

MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Month: Patrick Los — Chicago Fire FC II

Patrick Los

Chicago Fire FC II goalkeeper Patrick Los is the MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Month for March. His excellent performances to start the season have led Fire II to two shootout wins in the only two games the club has played.

"We have always said that a good goalkeeper needs to be decisive," said Chicago Fire FC II head coach Ludovic Taillandier. "The authority and decisiveness he has makes him a really key player for us along with his key saves in our first two games and in the shootout.

"The personality that he has at the age of 16 is really impressive and to show that kind of bravery shows the kind of player he is. We are extremely proud of him and it is very well deserved."

Los made two saves in two shootouts to start the season, leading Fire II to earn four points from the first two matches. He has made 11 saves in the run of play, stopping 84.6% of shots.

The 16-year-old made his first professional appearance in 2023 and is poised to lead Fire II's back line in 2024 after making his first professional start on March 17.

"This is a huge honor for me and I was very proud to come in and play," Los said after his first start. "I gave it my all and hopefully the team saw it and the coaches saw it. Hopefully, this is only the first game of the season and we have many more still ahead this season. Many more wins to get and we’re going to have a good season."

Los, who has come up through the Fire academy, follows the path of promising goalkeepers who have come before him, including U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina and current Fire starter Chris Brady. Los is making his way into the U.S. national team setup, earning a call-up earlier this month to the U.S. U-17 camp.

MLS NEXT Pro Rising Stars of the Month: Riley Dalgado (Ventura County FC) and Edward Davis (Philadelphia Union II)


Ventura County FC's Riley Dalgado and Philadelphia Union II's Edward Davis share the MLS NEXT Pro Rising Star of the Month honors for March. Each academy player emerged as key pieces for their respective squads, with Dalgado scoring a goal and playing 258 minutes and Davis scoring two goals in 249 minutes played.

Dalgado impressed early on in 2024, scoring VCFC's first goal of the season in a 2-1 win over The Town FC by sending a powerful shot into the opposite side netting from the left side of the 18-yard box. He made 15 appearances last season, including a 2023 Rising Star of Matchweek 23 honor, and appears to be quickly building on the professional experience.

Davis, a 17-year-old forward out of the Philadelphia Union academy, has already played more than double the 124 minutes he totaled for 2023. He scored his first MLS NEXT Pro goal in the opening match of the season, stopping a goalkeeper clearance to finish into an open net. He finished off another chance to equalize in an away match against Fire II in Matchweek 3, leading to a Rising Star of Matchweek 3 honor.

"Ed works extremely hard every day to get better," Union II head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. "We certainly believe that he's developing very well and we know that he can still keep improving. It's been a good start to the season for him and we know that his best days are still to come."