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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – MLS NEXT has announced the selection of midfielders Esmir Bajraktarevic (2005 – Appleton, Wisc.) and Jack Panayotou (2004 – Cambridge, Mass.) to represent the New England Revolution Academy at the league’s inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate on Wednesday, August 10 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. In addition, Director of Youth Development Rob Becerra will represent New England as a coach during the MLS NEXT All-Star Game following the Revolution Academy’s 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Championship in the Under-19 division.

Bajraktarevic, 17, first joined the Revolution Academy in August 2021 and immediately earned a place with New England’s second team, making his professional debut on Aug. 16, 2021. In May 2022, he became the eighth Homegrown Player signing in the club’s history. To date, he has made 25 appearances with Revolution II, including 14 this season. The attacking midfielder has made eight appearances between the U-17 and U-19 teams during this MLS NEXT season, collecting seven goals. Bajraktarevic is currently participating in a training camp with the Under-19 United States Youth Men’s National Team in Carson, California, marking his third national team call-up to date.

“We are incredibly proud to have Esmir, Jack, and Rob representing Revolution Academy at the league’s first All-Star Game. It is wonderful to see the hard work of the organization showcased by these three and we are glad to see the league recognize their individual achievements,” Technical Director Curt Onalfo stated. “Rob has done a tremendous job since he joined our Academy and I’m excited to see Esmir and Jack’s continued growth in our pro pathway.”

Panayotou, 18, first joined the Revolution Academy in 2019 and made his professional debut with the club’s MLS NEXT Pro side on April 3, 2022. The midfielder has since made nine appearances and notched the fourth brace in Revolution II history on April 17 in a comeback victory against FC Cincinnati 2. Panayotou was a standout for the Under-19s during their run to the MLS NEXT Cup title, leading the team with six goals scored during the tournament. Panayotou netted the game-winning tally in the final, a 1-0 win over the San Francisco Glens, to bring the club’s first MLS NEXT Cup national championship home to New England. Alongside Bajraktarevic, Panayotou is also participating in the U-19 USYMNT training camp in Carson, California after earning his second call-up with the squad.

Becerra took lead of the Revolution Academy in April 2021 after a 20-year coaching career developing young talent across Major League Soccer, the USL Championship, and the international stage. As the Academy’s Director of Youth Development, Becerra oversees all four Revolution Academy age groups, directing the coaching curriculum, player development, and player identification. Since his arrival, the Revolution Academy has qualified multiple teams for the MLS NEXT Cup postseason tournament after each of his two seasons at the helm, with two teams advancing to the semifinal round or later – the U-15s in 2021 and this year’s title-winning U-19 side.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by MLS NEXT and I’m excited to join Esmir and Jack in Minnesota,” Director of Youth Development Rob Becerra said. “Both of these players have worked incredibly hard to get here and I’m excited to be alongside them at the All-Star Game. I’m thrilled with how far the organization has come over the last two years and I’m looking forward to building upon the momentum of the U-19 Championship as we head into the fall.”

The 45 players were chosen by the MLS NEXT Player Selection Committee, which is made up of key MLS Player Development department personnel. Players must have been Under-18 (born in 2004 or earlier) and have competed in one of the MLS NEXT national showcase events this season, including MLS NEXT Fest, MLS NEXT Flex, Generation adidas Cup, and MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase. The selection committee also advised to the selection of the coaching staff for both the East and West teams, with each staff comprised of a head coach, two assistant coaches, a goalkeeper coach, and a fitness and strength coach.

The match will be streamed live, and further tune-in details will be available at a later date. Admission to the MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate at the National Sports Center is free of cost. Complete information on the MLS NEXT All-Star Game can be found here.

About Major League Soccer

Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer – celebrating its 27th season in 2022 – features 29 clubs throughout the United States and Canada, including 2022 expansion team Charlotte FC and St. Louis City SC, which debuts in 2023. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.

About MLS NEXT

MLS NEXT is a new paradigm for player development, launched in 2020 to transform youth soccer in North America. Founded on a collaborative approach to governance and a commitment to innovation, MLS NEXT players have access to the highest level of competition, training and personal development opportunities that will prepare them for their futures, both in soccer and in life. Membership for the 2021-22 season includes 133 clubs, 598 teams and over 12,000 players across the U.S. and Canada. Official partners of MLS NEXT include adidas, Allstate, DoorDash, and the University of South Carolina. For more information about MLS NEXT, visit www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext.

About Allstate

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) protects people from life's uncertainties with a wide array of protection for cars, homes, electronic devices and identity theft. Affordable products are available through a broad distribution network including Allstate agents, independent agents, major retailers, online and at the workplace. Allstate is widely known for the slogan "You're in Good Hands with Allstate." For more information, visit www.allstate.com.