Players to Watch

Atlanta United 2

W, Luke Brennan (2005), CB, Noah Cobb (2005), RB, Shawn Lanza (2006), W/CF, Ashton Gordon (2007), LB, Dominik Chong-Qui (2007), CB, Kaiden Moore (2007), AM/W, Rocket Ritarita (2007), CM/DM, Adyn Torres (2007), CM, Cooper Sanchez (2008)

I am excited to see if Adyn Torres can be a difference maker this year in MLS Next Pro and see how close he is from being an option for the first team. Chong-Qui and Moore are two of the riser stars in the 2007 class and are hoping to show Atlanta’s sporting department that they are deserving of a homegrown deal. 

Austin FC II

AM, Micah Burton (2006), DM, Ervin Torres Jr (2007)

Both Burton and Torres need to be able to show that their profiles can translate to bigger, faster, stronger competition. 

Carolina Core FC

CB, Christian Diaz (2006), RB, Jeremiah White (2007)

Carolina Core looks like they are going to focus on signing undervalued or disgruntled talent from MLS academies and give them a platform to show what they can do. Diaz and White have both been with USYNTs in the past. 

Chicago Fire FC II

CM, Sergio Oregel Jr (2005), AM/W, Dylan Borso (2006), W, Gio Granda (2007), GK, Patrick Los (2007), CB, Christopher Cupps (2008)

Borso might be playing for a homegrown deal this season. I think he has what it takes to earn it. 

Colorado Rapids 2

GK, Zackory Campagnolo (2007)

Campagnolo hasn’t been playing for the U17s which signals that he has graduated beyond that level. Adam Beaudy, the 2006 homegrown, is serving as Zack Steffen’s number two, which signals that Campganolo could be the starting keeper for the second team. 

Columbus Crew 2

W, Brent Adu-Gyamfi (2006)CM, Taha Habroune (2006), AM/CM, Cole Mrowka (2006), LB, Tristan Brown (2007)

Habroune and Mrowka both earned first team contracts after strong seasons in MLS Next Pro.

Crown Legacy (Charlotte FC)

W, Brian Romero (2006), GK, Nick Holliday (2006), W, Nimfa Berchimas (2008)

Holliday moved from North Carolina FC and will be a first team player next season. Berchimas has been a used sub in each of the first team’s three games so far. Will he move down to the second team to get more minutes once the season starts?

FC Cincinnati 2

DM, Stiven Jimenez (2007), CF, Stefan Chirila (2007)

Chirila has had a massive U17 season so far, can he do it in MLS Next Pro?

Houston Dynamo 2

CB, Tate Lampman (2006), CF, Zeke Soto (2007), DM, Sebastian Rodriguez (2007)

Soto was underwhelming in MLS Next Pro last year, can he take a step forward? Lampman is another U18 that is likely playing for a pro deal.

Huntsville City SC (Nashville SC)

CF, Adem Sipic (2006), CM, Isaiah Jones (2006)

Jones was signed to a homegrown deal this offseason in what was a surprise move to me. I’m excited to take a closer look at him in MLS Next Pro this season.

Inter Miami CF II

W, Felipe Valencia (2005), W, Miles Perkovich (2006), CB, Tyler Hall (2006), CF, Bryan Destin (2006), W, Daniel Pinter (2007), AM, Santi Morales (2007), DM, Jack Pymm (2007), CB, Nicholas Almeida (2007)

Inter Miami always plays a ton of young players in MLS Next Pro. I like a lot of their 2007 players and am excited to see how they do this year.

LA Galaxy II

CF, Ruben Ramos (2007), RB, Harbor Miller (2007), W, Mathis Albert (2009)

Albert might be one of the few 2009 players that get some MLS Next Pro minutes this year. He has been playing with the second team in preseason and impressing.


W, Bajung Darboe (2006), W, Adrian Wibowo (2006), CM, Matthew Evans (2006), W, Adriano Samayoa (2007), DM/CM, Jude Terry (2008), DM, Decarlo Guerra (2008)

I am going to be watching LAFC’s second team closely. I want to see what Darboe can do in his first full season in over a year. I also want to see how Samayoa adjusts to a new level. Terry and Guerra are both high quality 2008s that are ready for a new challenge.

Minnesota United FC 2

W, Darius Randell (2007)

Randell has been training primarily with the second team and could be Minnesota’s next homegrown signing if he has a strong MLS Next Pro season.

New England Revolution II

CB, Santiago Suarez (2005), W, Olger Escobar (2006), LB, Peyton Miller (2007), CM/AM, Cristiano Oliveira (2008)

I have been a huge fan of Escobar for a few years, but he didn’t put up the numbers I thought he would in MLS Next Pro last year. Oliveira is the young academy player that I think New England will prioritize in MLS Next Pro this season and seems to be on track for a homegrown deal.

New York Red Bulls II

CM/DM, Bento Estrela (2006), CB, Davi Alexandre (2007), CF, Tanner Rosborough (2008), W, Julian Hall (2008), GK, Aidan Stokes (2008), DM, Adri Mehmeti (2009)

The Red Bulls should have a lot of exciting young talent playing in MLS Next Pro this season. I am most interesting in seeing how Julian Hall progresses and to see if Adri Mehmeti gets an opportunity.

North Texas SC (FC Dallas)

AM, Anthony Ramirez (2005), W, Tarik Scott (2005), CM, Ale Urzua (2006), CM/AM, Diego Garcia (2006), AM, Leo Orejarena (2007), AM, Gabriel Mendonca (2007)

Tarik Scott missed all of last season with a knee injury. He was one of my favorite 2005s two seasons ago and will look to get his career back on track this season.


GK, Alexander Yagudayev (2006), RB, Drew Baiera (2007), LB, Christian McFarlane (2007), AM/CM, Jonny Shore (2007), CM/DM, Jacob Arroyave (2007), AM, Maximo Carrizo (2008), CF, Zidane Yanez (2008)

NYCFC is another team with a ton of young talent that will get a lot of minutes in MLS Next Pro this year.

Orlando City B

AM, Favian Loyola (2005), LB, Tahir Reid-Brown (2006), CF, Justin Ellis (2007), DM, Collin Guske (2007), CB, Jackson Platts (2007), AM, Gustavo Caraballo Delgado (2008)

Justin Ellis is one of the players I am most excited to see how his unique technical and creative style will translate to this level.

Philadelphia Union II

CF, Sal Olivas (2006), CM/AM, Christopher Olney (2006), AM/W, David Vazquez (2006), GK, Andrew Rick (2006), CB, Neil Pierre (2007), AM, Cavan Sullivan (2009)

Sullivan is the most hyped United States prospect since Gio Reyna. He spent a lot of time with the second team this preseason and could be in store for considerable minutes in MLS Next Pro this season. If so, a lot more people are going to have the opportunity to get to know his game.

Portland Timber 2

RB, Sawyer Jura (2006), CM, Adolfo Enriquez (2006), CF, Noah Santos (2007), CB Maximo Nystrom (2007)

Santos is another player that has done very well at the U17 level, but needs to prove his profile plays up in MLS Next Pro.

Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake)

CM, Jude Wellings (2006), CF, Axel Kei (2007), W, Zavier Gozo (2007), CM, Owen Anderson (2007), CM/W, Sean Petrie (2007), RB, Cayne Madhlangove (2007), W, Omar Marquez (2008), RB, Juan Gio Villa (2008), CM, Luca Moisa (2008), GK, William Mackay (2008)

A lot of Real Salt Lake prospects have flamed out beyond the U17 level, so it’s critical some of these guys do well this year. I am focusing on Zavier Gozo, who was considered a top winger prospect in the youth pool, but he hasn’t made the impact you would want to see in MLS Next Pro yet.

San Jose Earthquakes II

GK, Emmanuel Ochoa (2005), AM, Cruz Medina (2006), DM, Eddie Mendoza (2006), CF, Tomo Allen (2007), DM, Rohan Rajagopal (2007)

The two players I am focused on from San Jose are Cruz Medina and Tomo Allen. Medina struggled in MLS Next Pro last season and that was a big reason why his star faded. Can he adjust this year? Allen has a fantastic profile and is having a great season in MLS Next. If he can show that he can be effective in MLS Next Pro, I believe he will start getting the attention he has deserved.

Sporting Kansas City II

LB/RB, Nati Clarke (2005), LB, Leo Christiano (2007), CB, Ian James (2008), GK, Jack Kortkamp (2008)

James and Kortkamp are both high level prospects and it would be good to see Sporting KC be a little more aggressive with their top prospects and give them some MLS Next Pro minutes. Christiano made a big jump in development last year, but has been injured all of this season. I hope he can get fit and show what he can do in MLS Next Pro.

St. Louis City 2

AM, Aaron Heard (2006), W, Mykhi Joyner (2006), CF, Caden Glover (2007), DM/RB, Tyson Pearce (2007)

I thought Glover could be ready for some MLS minutes this year, but it looks like St. Louis is focused on getting him a lot of time in MLS Next Pro. I have always rated Heard, but I have not seen him play a lot lately. It would be nice to see him get 1,000+ minutes in MLSNP this year.

Tacoma Defiance (Seattle)

AM, Chris Aquino (2006), CB, Stuart Hawkins (2006), CM, Synder Brunell (2007), RB, Etienne Veillard (2007), CB, Gallatin Sandness (2008)

Tacoma have a lot of guys with a lot to prove, especially Chris Aquino who was another player who struggled to carry his success from the academy level to the second team level. Sandness is a name that has been buzzing around Seattle and he is expected to get some minutes with the second team this year.

Toronto FC II

CB, Lazar Stefanovic (2006)

Stefanovic is a Canadian-Serbian-American who played a ton in MLS Next Pro last season. I am surprised he hasn’t signed a homegrown deal yet and my assumption is that he has a lot of suitors in Europe and they are seeing who offers the best deal. A few scouts representing a Premier League club reached out to me last season hoping to get into contact with him. 2024 should be another showcase year and it will probably be his last in MLSNP. He will either move abroad or get a first team deal with Toronto.