ATLANTA (Sept. 28, 2023) – MLS NEXT Pro today announced that Nick Firmino was named to the 2023 Best XI. Firmino becomes the first player in Atlanta United 2 history to make a Best XI. MLS NEXT Pro Best XI recognizes the league’s top players at each position and were voted on by Head Coaches and Chief Soccer Officers at MLS NEXT Pro Clubs, as well as League broadcast and content teams.
Firmino led ATL UTD 2 with 16 goals and six assists while starting 25 of his 27 MLSNP appearances in 2023. The Brazilian native’s 22 goals + assists finished tied for second in MLSNP and he finished fourth in the league in goals scored. Firmino also led Atlanta in shots (76), shots on goal (33), accurate passes (1122) and was second in successful dribbles (58).
“The Best XI award is a huge honor for me,” said Firmino. “Although it is an individual award, I couldn't have done this without the help of my teammates and coaches. They put me in a great position to succeed and I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish this season. Great things can happen when you put the work in and bet on yourself.”
During Atlanta’s inaugural season in MLSNP, the 22-year-old midfielder earned a number of individual accolades including mid-season MVP, player of the month for June and player of the matchday for Matchday 11. Firmino also became ATL UTD 2’s single-season goal scoring record holder with his 12th goal of the season on July 24, eventually surpassing that mark and establishing a new club record with 16 goals.
“We’re all absolutely delighted for Nick,” said ATL UTD 2 head coach Steve Cooke. “On a personal note, he deserves this. He’s a player that had a great season. Not only in terms of his contribution to the team but his individual productivity as well. Aside from the goals and assists, he’s been an incredible teammate and a person of incredible character as well. We couldn’t be more delighted for him and hopefully he gets all the rewards he deserves because he’s had an unbelievable season and one we hope he can continue.”
The 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI is as follows:
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