FC Cincinnati 2

Stefan Chirila named U17 MLS NEXT Most Valuable Player


FC Cincinnati Academy forward Stefan Chirila has been named U17 MLS NEXT Most Valuable Player for the 2023-24 season, the league announced today. Chirila becomes the second FC Cincinnati Academy player to receive the award, following forward Ryder Mills (U19 MLS NEXT MVP – 2023).

Chirila, 17, was the nation’s most prolific goal scorer at the academy level, scoring over 40 goals across all competitions for the Young Garys. At the 2024 Generation adidas Cup, Chirila led his U17 side through the group stage, finishing with a 3-0-0 record, and into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in the academy history. Chirila would go on to win the U17 Golden Boot for the competition and was named to the GA Cup’s Best XI.

Chirila’s performances for the FC Cincinnati Academy earned the forward an opportunity to train and play with FC Cincinnati 2, where he made his MLS NEXT Pro debut against Chicago Fire FC II in the club’s first match of the 2024 season.

Since making his debut in March, Chirila has become one of FC Cincinnati 2’s most dangerous attacking players, scoring four goals in just seven appearances and leading the club this season in scoring. Chirila helped spark a five-match win streak for FC Cincinnati 2 in which he scored in three consecutive matches and earned MLS NEXT Rising Star honors in Matchweek 10 with a two goal, one assist effort against New York Red Bulls II.

On May 21 Chirila signed his first professional contract with FC Cincinnati and will join the first team in 2025 as a Homegrown Player. Chirila becomes the second youngest academy player to sign a first team deal and eighth player to make the move from academy to first team.