Skip to content

USL Top 50: Ranking the Championship’s best players

These players are the best and brightest the USL has to offer.

24 min read
Design: Peyton Gallaher

More than 550 players have made a matchday squad already this year in the USL Championship, but who among them can define a season? I set out to identify the 50 players across the league who truly stand out as stars week in and week out.

Value goes deeper than simple numbers like goals or assists. Someone who leads the league in scoring is doing so because they have loads of underlying talent and because they’ve found a tactical system that fits their profile. The best players in the USL elevate their teammates within a certain strategic context. Judging that ability is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder – someone could come up with a defensible top 50 that’s vastly different from mine.

But make no mistake, this list is stacked with quality.

Who didn’t make the cut for the 2024 iteration of the list? A few players with long-term injuries were left out. Aodhan Quinn and Brian Ownby would be first-ballot entries to any potential USL Hall of Fame, but they’re omitted here. Borderline inclusions like Koke Vegas – the league’s unique goalkeeper-quarterback combo – was a narrow cut because of his injury. Players actively making a difference deserve the spotlight. 

In a different category, a few young up-and-comers were hard cuts. Elijah Wynder, Kalil ElMedkhar, and Tristan Trager are known quantities at this point with a few USL seasons under their belt, but they need to keep up the quality this season to earn their place. Valentin Noel, Kobe Hernandez-Foster, and MD Myers are new to the league and fall into the same bucket.

Other big-name stars with long track records are out for simpler reasons. Sebastian Guenzatti was a legendary USL striker at his peak, but he’s evolved into a midfielder in Indy and there are, frankly, other players with more convincing arguments. Forrest Lasso could give away a few of his Defender of the Year trophies without sweating, but I’d argue there are better players in his role league-wide and more important teammates flanking him in Tampa Bay.

With the prologue out of the way, let’s get to the countdown.

This post is for paid subscribers


Already have an account? Log in