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MNUFC2 and MLS NEXT Pro announced today that midfielder Aziel Jackson was named to the league’s Best XI roster, honoring the best players in its inaugural season. The Best XI is comprised of the top players at each position, with eight different Clubs in MLS NEXT Pro represented this year.

Aziel Jackson’s season for MNUFC2 stood out among the best of the league, particularly in key passes / chances created. The Loons midfielder was the top player in that category with 70 scoring chances created, impacting each game by setting up multiple scoring opportunities. He notably led MLS NEXT Pro in that statistic from July 31 to the final week of the regular season. On the club level, Jackson led MNUFC2 in games played (23 GP, 21 GS), goals scored (10) and assists provided (seven). The midfielder additionally finished tied for third in MLS NEXT Pro regular-season action with his seven assists. Among his key contributions on the field, Jackson scored MLS NEXT Pro’s 800th-ever goal during MNUFC2’s match at Timbers2 on September 11.

The 20-year-old joined MNUFC as Homegrown Player when Minnesota traded for his homegrown rights from New York Red Bulls in April 2021. The midfielder is a product of the New York Red Bull Academy, where he joined in 2014 at age 13. He spent the 2021 season on loan to North Carolina FC before playing with MNUFC2 on a season-long loan in 2022.

The Best XI honors were voted on by the head coaches and Chief Soccer Officers at MLS NEXT Pro Clubs, as well as League-wide broadcasters and content producers.

The MLS NEXT Pro Best XI is as follows:

Goalkeeper (1):

Patrick Schulte – Columbus Crew 2

Defenders (3):

Mo Farsi – Columbus Crew 2
Kyle Hiebert – St Louis CITY2
Talen Maples – Houston Dynamo 2

Midfielders (4):

Pedro Dolabella – Rochester New York FC
Aziel Jackson – MNUFC2
Isaiah Parente - Columbus Crew 2
Marlon Vargas – Tacoma Defiance

Forwards (3):

Bernard Kamungo – North Texas SC
Jack Lynn – Orlando City B
Jacen Russell-Rowe - Columbus Crew 2

Nine of the Best XI players will participate in the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs beginning this weekend with the Conference Semifinals.