MLS NEXT Pro has announced the winners of three regular-season awards, honoring the league's standout performers of 2023.
The final award of the regular season, the MLS NEXT Pro MVP presented by adidas, will be announced in the coming weeks during the upcoming MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs, which kick off this weekend with the Conference Quarterfinals.
Coach of the Year
Colorado Rapids 2's Erik Bushey has been named MLS NEXT Pro's Coach of the Year after leading the club to a pronounced turnaround following a ninth-place finish in the Western Conference in 2022.
Under Bushey's guidance, Rapids 2 finished with the league's best record (19W-4L-5D, 66 points) en route to a Frontier Division title. The dominant campaign was good for the top seed in the Western Conference and the No. 1 overall seed in the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs.
Other finalists for Coach of the Year included 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.
Goalkeeper of the Year
Austin FC II goalkeeper Damian Las has garnered Goalkeeper of the Year honors after a standout campaign in between the posts.
The 21-year-old was a stalwart for the club, helping Austin FC II to the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference after allowing just 20 goals. His 12 clean sheets were a league-best mark as he led the league in games played and started, wins, save percentage (79.2%) and goals against average (0.74).
Las was recognized as Goalkeeper of the Month three times in 2023 (April, June and August).
Other finalists for Goalkeeper of the Year included Colorado Rapids 2’s Adam Beaudry, New York Red Bulls II’s AJ Marcucci and Crown Legacy FC’s Isaac Walker.
2023 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI
The MLS NEXT Pro Best XI is comprised of one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards. Nine of the Best XI players will participate in the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs.
Best XI forwards Rémi Cabral (Colorado Rapids 2), Jack Lynn (Orlando City C) and MD Myers (NYCFC II) were crowned MLS NEXT PRO Golden Boot co-winners after each scoring 19 goals this season.
Damian Las – Austin FC II
Abdoulaye Cissoko – Tacoma Defiance
Joe Hafferty – Austin FC II
João Pedro – Crown Legacy FC
Nick Firmino – Atlanta United 2
Yosuke Hanya – Colorado Rapids 2
Ibrahim Kasule – New York Red Bulls II
Oliver Larraz – Colorado Rapids 2
Rémi Cabral – Colorado Rapids 2
Jack Lynn – Orlando City B
MD Myers – NYCFC II