The stove is getting warmer for the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign, and we are starting to see an uptick in team news.
Inter Miami CF II's office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has perhaps been the busiest this week, with some staff shuffling headlined by Federico Higuaín taking over as head coach, and sorting out the temporary departure of one of the club's brightest young stars.
Austin FC II also announced its first three players as the Texas-based side gears up for its inaugural campaign, and New England Revolution II bolstered its roster with a pair of incoming midfielders.
Charlotte FC has also been busy lately and revealed three new MLS NEXT Pro signings on Thursday.
Here is a closer look at this week's roundup of MLS NEXT Pro player news and newcomers:
Romeo Beckham heads to Brentford B on loan
One of MLS NEXT Pro's brightest stars will begin his season in England. 20-year-old Romeo Beckham had a successful MLS NEXT Pro debut and ended the season tied for the most assists in all of the league (10), and added two goals to Inter Miami CF II's 2022 campaign.
Now, he heads to Brentford B, English Premier League side Brentford's reserve team, on a six-month loan set to expire in June. Beckham had already been training with the Young Bees in recent weeks and seemed to have left a positive impression quickly.
“We’ve been absolutely delighted with Romeo since he arrived with us," Brentford B head coach Neil MacFarlane said in a statement issued by the club. "He came to us from Inter Miami with the aim of working with us during their close season. Romeo has applied himself unbelievably well, he’s really bought into the culture and the group which he has become a big part of.
“I love his standards and the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch."
Austin FC II announces first three players
Ahead of its foray into MLS NEXT Pro life in 2023, Austin FC II announced the signings of Cheick Touré, Bobosi Byaruhanga, and David Rodríguez who represent the first-ever club signings.
Touré is a 21-year-old Dutch fullback who began his career in the Netherlands as a Feyenoord academy product where he racked up 23 goals and eight assists in 73 appearances. He moved to PSV Eindhoven in 2020 and primarily played for the reserved team, Jong PSV, where he notched three goals and four assists in 48 appearances.
On the international stage, Touré scored a goal in his pair of Dutch caps at the U-19 level.
Byaruhanga, a midfielder, also 21 years old, joins ATX FC II from Czech side MFK Vyskov on a year-long loan with option to buy. He began his career in his native Uganda with Vipers SC and was named the FUFA (Federation of Uganda Football Associations) Male Player of the year in 2021 before heading to Europe.
Byaruhanga also boasts international experience with his 11 senior Ugandan caps that include six World Cup Qualifying contests.
Rodríguez, 20, actually debuted with North Texas SC in the club's USL era, where he helped earn the 2019 League One championship at the age of 16. From there he headed to Liga MX for a stint with Atlético San Luis which has yielded nine appearances since 2020 and now heads to the Lone Star state on a season-long loan to purchase option.
Charlotte FC adds trio
Like Austin FC II, Charlotte FC is gearing up for its first-ever MLS NEXT Pro campaign and announced Philip Mayaka, Ethan Dudley, and Gurman Sangha as their newest signings on Thursday.
Mayaka, a 22-year-old midfielder, joins Charlotte FC from the Colorado Rapids organization. He made 18 appearances, yielding two goals and an assist, for Rapids 2 last year. The third-overall 2021 MLS Superdraft selection also featured for the Colorado Switchbacks in 2021 and was called up to Kenya's World Cup Qualifying roster last year.
Dudley, a 23-year-old defender, comes from Northwestern University where he stood as the only player on his side to start every match in 2022 and added four goals and two assists. Prior to Northwestern Dudley was named ASUN Defensive Player of the Year during his time at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Sangha, 22, comes as a midfielder from the University of Portland where played 21 games in a six-goal, six-assist effort last year. Before Portland, he featured 45 times for the University of Memphis and produced six goals and seven assists in his 45 appearances a Tiger. In his formative years in Canada, he was a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps academy.
New England Revolution II sign Ben Awashie and Nakye Greenidge-Duncan
Revs II also made some news this week with a pair of signings that will help bolster the midfield with the additions of Ben Awashie and Nakye Greenidge-Duncan.
Awashie is set to make his professional debut in 2023 after a successful collegiate career. The 24-year-old Ghanaian initially represented the University of Connecticut and earned American Conference All-Rookie Team honors as a freshman in 2019 before transferring to Grand Canyon University in 2022.
Greenidge-Duncan helped Toronto FC II all the way to the Eastern Conference final last season. The 19-year-old Toronto native joins Revs II on the heels of a three-goal, one-assist campaign with TFCII in 2022.