Stealing the Spotlight: The players who shined in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro weekend

Imagine how special it must be to play in a professional soccer league's inaugural weekend; now imagine scoring for your team. Take that feat up one notch, and think of the feeling of scoring 2 goals! That's precisely what OCB's Jack Lynn, Inter Miami CF II's Emerson Rodriguez, North Texas SC's Tarik Scott, Tacoma Defiance's Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, and Revs II's Damian Rivera did this past weekend!

These players shined in their club's MLS NEXT Pro debuts, and now that the excitement has resided a bit, we want to bring them right back into the spotlight and share their thoughts on accomplishing such a tremendous feat.

Tarik Scott - North Texas SC

It's hard for most of us to grasp what being 16 years old and playing in a professional soccer league, and scoring two goals must feel like. Scott was all smiles after the game, and so were all his teammates after 3-1 victory over MNUFC 2.

He told MLS NEXT Pro, "It was important and special for me to get a brace on my pro debut. It's a combination of the hard work I put and the team's effort. It is very special to me and for all the Academy players looking to get an opportunity at an MLS NEXT Pro level."

The future looks bright for Scott, and we'll continue to keep track of his progress.

Tarik Scott Goal Celebration

Jack Lynn - Orlando City B

While his teammate, Javier Otero, had a spectacular game, saving an incredible amount of shots being taken by the Chicago Fire II, Lynn provided the boost to make sure his teammate's performance did not go in vain.

The 22-year-old Lynn scored two goals that helped secure the victory for OCB and said the following: "I'm buzzing. It's always great to start the year with a win, and I couldn't be happier to help the team with two goals. I'm really grateful for the league and for Orlando for having this professional environment to get good coaching and play against good competition. I think it's a great opportunity for everyone involved."

We'll be sure to watch for Lynn this weekend as Orlando City B takes on NYCFC II.

Jack Lynn OCB Goal Celebration

Emerson Rodriguez - Inter Miami CF II

Another standout player was 21-year-old Rodriguez, who helped Inter Miami II to an inaugural season win over Columbus Crew 2. The Colombian player expressed his feelings following the game.

"I feel really happy; I've been working really for the opportunity. I'm thankful to God and Head Coach Darren Powell for allowing me to play, and we'll continue to prepare for what's ahead versus Houston Dynamo 2."

Rodriguez's performance in the opening round placed him in the spotlight, and it will be interesting to see how he performs in their upcoming match this Sunday.

Emerson Rodriguez

Damian Rivera - New England Revolution II

Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised when a fourth player scored yet another brace when Rivera put two balls between the posts in his team's 2-2 regulation draw. Fortunately for Revs II, its players converted 4 of 5 shots from the penalty mark to get the shootout victory, but most importantly, the extra point. After the game, Rivera gave his thoughts on his performance.

"Yeah, definitely excited to get those two goals under my belt. I've been working hard this preseason, and to get those goals, it's another confidence booster, and it's really exciting."

With that performance, Rivera joins the three other 2-goal scorers that fans will be eyeing closer.

Rivera REVS II

Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez - Tacoma Defiance

Tacoma Defiance had the best performance of the inaugural weekend, and because of that, they were placed as the number one in the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro Top 5 Rankings. It was Ocampo-Chavez who led Tacoma to victory by scoring two goals, including the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro goal in franchise history.

Ocampo Chavez_Celebration_TAC

Of course, these players weren't the only ones to perform well but were the only ones with a brace, which is no easy thing to do. The inaugural weekend at MLS NEXT Pro was full of excitement and many goals. Now that we've witnessed five 2-goal scorers in the inaugural round, we can't wait to see how many more we'll get this week. Tune in for all the games on