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2023 USL Players Survey: Best player, moving to MLS, necessary changes & more

Backheeled sent a survey to players from around the USL Championship. These are their responses.

7 min read
Design: Peyton Gallaher

The USL Championship's regular season is winding down, with the playoffs right around the corner.

Here at Backheeled, we cover the on-field action each week with analysis of all 24 teams in the Championship, the United States’ second-division professional men’s league. So you know where we stand on all sorts of things. And thanks to our USL Coaches Survey from earlier this year, you know what managers think about some of the hottest topics in American soccer.

2023 USL Coaches Survey: Best young player, worst atmosphere, necessary changes & more
Before the 2023 season, Backheeled sent a survey to head coaches from around the USL Championship. These are their responses.

Now it’s time for you to hear from the players.

Earlier this year, Backheeled sent an identical survey to players from all around the USL Championship. We wanted to know…which team has the best home atmosphere? Is it harder to make the jump to MLS now than it used to be? Are you in favor of the USL moving to promotion and relegation?

More than 50 players took our survey. The results are down below.

Some responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Who is the best player in the USL Championship?




Leo Fernandes

Tampa Bay Rowdies


Jeremy Kelly

Memphis 901


Aaron Molloy

Memphis 901


Panos Armenakas

Phoenix Rising


Eric Calvillo

El Paso Locomotive


Russell Cicerone

Sacramento Republic


Two players share the top spot in this category, with Tampa Bay’s Leo Fernandes and Memphis’ Jeremy Kelly earning an equal number of votes from their peers.

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