COMMERCE CITY, Colo - Colorado Rapids 2’s Rémi Cabral, Yosuke Hanya and Oliver Larraz have been named to the MLS NEXT Pro Best XI for the 2023 season, the league announced today. All awards were voted on by the head coaches and chief soccer officers of MLS NEXT Pro clubs, as well as League broadcast and content teams.
“As a club, we are humbled to garner such recognition, especially as there are many talented players in this league who could be found worthy of such praise,” said Erik Bushey, Rapids 2 Head Coach. “Even in our own team, Oliver, Yosuke and Rémi are just three players who each need the team around them to gain success. The best part is each of these three would likely echo the same sentiment. Without doubt, our team has not achieved the heights that we have thus far without them. They are fine young men. They are both leaders and soldiers. They produced when the team needed them and they deserve such recognition. I am proud of each one of them.”
Cabral joined Colorado Rapids 2 at the beginning of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season after spending two seasons with former USL Championship side LA Galaxy II. The Frenchman has been a crucial piece of the Rapids 2 attack this season, totaling 19 goals and one assist across 20 matches (16 starts). In the team’s final regular-season game against MNUFC2, Cabral put away three goals, including a game-winning goal in the 89th minute of the match to earn Colorado a No. 1 overall seed in MLS NEXT Pro heading into the 2023 playoffs. The hat-trick performance also earned Cabral a share of this year’s Golden Boot award alongside fellow MLS NEXT Pro players Jack Lynn and Matt Myers. Cabral’s success this season afforded him the opportunity to make his official MLS debut with the Rapids First Team in their match against Columbus Crew on May 31, 2023.
Entering his second year with the club, Hanya has been a standout among MLS NEXT Pro players over the course of his two seasons in the league. During the current 2023 season, the Japanese international has added 13 goals and nine assists in 25 matches (23 starts). His nine assists were second-most in the league this season, right behind fellow teammate Marlon Vargas who finished first in the league with 10 assists. In addition to a successful season with Rapids 2, Hanya made his MLS debut with the Rapids First Team on May 17, 2023, in the team’s match versus Atlanta United FC. In his first season with the club, Hanya started in 22 matches, leading Rapids 2 in both games started (22 games) and minutes (1,958 minutes), while logging four goals and three assists as he was named the Rapids 2 Player of the Year.
Larraz has served as Rapids 2 captain for a majority of the team’s matches in 2023. The Homegrown Player, who signed a first-team contract with the Rapids in 2021, entered the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season off the heels of a long-term injury to his lower right leg. After undergoing a successful surgery in March of 2022, Larraz stepped back onto the pitch for the first time in Rapids 2’s home opener on March 26, 2023. From there, Larraz has gone on to add nine goals and eight assists in 27 appearances (25 starts) this year, while leading both the team and league in key passes (55) this season.
All three players played a critical role in the Rapids 2 attack this season, totaling 41 of the team’s league-leading 70 goals and 18 of the team’s league-leading 51 assists.
Full 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI:
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