TAMPA - Today, USL League Two announced the 2023 USL League Two Team of the Year. This collection of eleven players was voted on by club leadership from across the country, in a poll sent out after the conclusion of the regular season.
Clubs were asked to nominate and vote for those they believed should slot into the four position groups, and the top vote-getters at each position were named to the team.
GK | Jason Smith, Park City Red Wolves
Smith was the most critical piece to the success of Park City Red Wolves. The only goalkeeper to be selected as a Divisional Player of the Year, Smith's control, reflexes and positioning were absolutely essential to Park City's success. He routinely saved essential league points for the Red Wolves that carried them to the playoffs.
RB | Hosei Kijima, Sarasota Paradise
Kijima may be listed at right back, and he plays there out of possession, but he actually has the freedom to play wherever he sees fit. Push up into midfield, switch sides, carry the ball forward, it's all on the table for Kijima. He earned the full trust of his club with his game sense, vision, recovery speed and technical ability. The Yokohama, Japan native from IMG Academy was an absolute sensation in Sarasota this season.
CB | Hugo Bacharach, Flint City Bucks
What else is there to say about the newly crowned Defender of the Year? Hugo was an imposing presence that had to be accounted for by anyone hoping to score a goal against the Bucks. His combination of pace, size, and tackling precision caused every club fits. Bacharach is headed to Indiana University for the fall, where he'll be hoping to have a similar impact for the Hoosiers.
CB | Reid Sproat, Fort Wayne FC
Fort Wayne FC had one of the best defensive records in USL League Two, and Sproat was the centerpiece of that defense. While the club's two primary goalkeepers split time, and the team had some general rotation around him, it was Sproat that was the consistent piece of the puzzle. His tackling ability, control under pressure and ability to diagnose potential danger early were absolutely essential to the best season in Fort Wayne FC history.
LB | Lesia Thetsane, Ballard FC
Similar to Kojima, Thetsane may be a fullback by name, but the Lesotho senior international has the full trust of the Ballard staff to do what's right on the pitch. Most frequently, that means making powerful overlapping runs up the left side, or tucking into midfield to win the ball or progress it farther up the pitch. Oozing with skill and intelligence, Thetsane was always available to provide a moment of magic for the Bridges, and was a critical piece to their league-winning playoff run.
CM | Nick Pariano, Ocean City Nor'Easters
Pariano is all about control, and he gave the Nor'Easters that in spades. Able to make a cutting pass at any moment, the Duke midfielder bridged straight from a successful college season into an Eastern Conference Final appearance for the Nor'Easters. He added five goals from midfield during the regular season, making him the club's second-leading scorer.
CM | Marc Torrellas, Chicago City SC
Torrellas was nothing short of magic for Chicago City SC. Nearly championing them to an undefeated regular season before being spoiled by FC Wichita, Torrellas was always dangerous with the ball at his feet. Able to spin away from pressure, place a pass and score goals, Torrellas was integral to their success. With six goals in only seven matches from midfield, Torrellas held off any availability concerns with unbelievable production every time he took the pitch.
CM | Jeorgio Kocevski, Long Island Rough Riders
Kocevski is on nearly a year straight of high-level production at both the NCAA and USL League Two levels. Kocevski scored four goals in 12 matches for Long Island, and was elite at applying pressure to opposing defenses and creating either chances or security wherever needed. Coming from a high-level environment at Syracuse University, where he won the 2022 Championship, he'll be headed back there as their number 8 to try and repeat the feat.
LW | Bernardo dos Santos Monteiro, Charlotte Eagles
Bernardo dos Santos Monteiro was in the Golden Boot race until the very end, finishing just one goal behind Logan Farrington and Sergio Ors Navarro with 12 goals in 13 matches for the Eagles. Monteiro scored 35% of the club's goals, and was the key difference-maker for the Eagles in attack. He showed fantastic technical ability and finishing for the club. He came up big in matches, like the June 21st win over West Virginia United when he scored in the 74th minute to claim a critical victory in the playoff race.
RW | Eliot Goldthorp, Des Moines Menace
Goldthorp received numerous votes as both a midfielder and a forward in the Team of the Year vote, and for good reason. His ability with the ball at his feet to make intelligent runs and utilize both feet were integral to the Des Moines attack. Nicknamed GOALdthorp by the Des Moines faithful, the attacking midfielder/forward poured in eight goals on the season in 12 matches, leading the storied club in goals. His tendency to run onto loose balls and power them into the back of the net provided crucial goals for a Menace side that really got pushed in the Heartland Division.
ST | Logan Farrington, Ventura County Fusion
In the regular season, opponents just couldn't keep Logan Farrington off the scoresheet. Winner of the Golden Boot, Farrington leapt on every loose ball, created his own space in the box, and nailed his shots to power the Fusion to another successful playoff run. In the playoffs against SF Glens, Farrington added on a hat trick for good measure. A constant threat up top for Ventura County Fusion, and the primary reason for their continued success after Nathaniel Opoku was bought by Leicester City FC.
*from USL League Two site*