Press Release

MLS NEXT Pro names Jacen Russell-Rowe first-ever Most Valuable Player

JRR with Charles mid

- Columbus Crew 2’s Jacen Russell-Rowe Named 2022 MLS NEXT Pro MVP presented by adidas -

- Forward Led League in Scoring and Led Team to Best Regular Season Record -

- Russell-Rowe Previously Named 2022 Golden Boot Winner and Member of 2022 Best XI –

- Crew 2 to Host St Louis CITY2 in Inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup on Saturday -

NEW YORK CITY (October 7, 2022) – MLS NEXT Pro announced today that Columbus Crew 2 forward Jacen Russell-Rowe has been named the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Most Valuable Player presented by adidas for his tremendous performance in the League’s inaugural regular season.

The MVP honor caps off a recent string of league-wide recognition for Russell-Rowe, who was crowned MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot Winner at the conclusion of the regular season after scoring 21 goals. He was also named one of the Best XI players in the League.

Russell-Rowe was a key contributor to Crew 2’s success in its first season, leading Columbus to a League-best record of 16-3-5 (55 points) and the number one seed in the Eastern Conference entering the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. He played a significant role in Crew 2 finishing the regular season first in goals (62) and goal differential (+40).

The 20-year-old Toronto native signed with Crew 2 on March 18 and quickly scored 11 goals in a nine-game span – after which he signed a first team contract with Columbus, becoming the first Crew 2 player to sign with the first team. Russell-Rowe has since spent time with both the MLS and MLS NEXT Pro teams, appearing in 19 total matches for Crew 2 in the regular season, starting all but the first two. He has also played in six MLS games, earning three starts and recording two assists in 227 minutes.

Russell-Rowe had five multi-goal games this season for Crew 2, including a four-goal outing against FC Cincinnati 2 in the final game of the regular season (9/18/22) to secure his Golden Boot title. He also recorded braces against NYCFC II (8/7/22), FCC2 (7/16/22), Orlando City B (6/19/22) and Inter Miami II (6/9/22).

The other finalists for MLS NEXT Pro MVP presented by adidas were: St Louis CITY2’s Kyle Hiebert, North Texas SC’s Bernard Kamungo, Orlando City B’s Jack Lynn and Tacoma Defiance’s Marlon Vargas. Regular season awards were voted on by the head coaches and Chief Soccer Officers at MLS NEXT Pro Clubs as well as League content and broadcast teams.

One day after being named MVP, Russell-Rowe and Crew 2 will host St Louis CITY2 in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup on Saturday (1:30 p.m. ET, Field). The championship match will be broadcast live on