The Next Cincinnati Sports Stars

Who’s up next for Cincinnati’s major league sports teams?

Photographs (left to right) courtesy of FC Cincinnati, Rick Scuteri-USA Today Sports / (bottom) Katie Stratman-USA Today Sports, Cincinnati Bengals, Photo composite by Emi Villavicencio

Here’s a look at the next up-and-coming sports stars for Cincinnati teams.


The Next FC Cincinnati Star

You know about Lucho Acosta and Brandon Vázquez. You might even know about Roman Celentano and Matt Miazga. What about Álvaro Barreal? Major League Soccer defenses know all about the creative wrath generated by FC Cincinnati’s left wingback. Barreal, who turns 23 this month, transitioned from attacking winger early in the 2022 season and wound up second on the team in assists (nine) while contributing five goals. He’s on track to top those totals in 2023, racking up MLS Team of the Matchday honors along the way. European clubs will start calling about Barreal if they aren’t already.

Read Grant’s weekly FC Cincinnati columns at

The Next Reds Star

Elly De La Cruz is a spellbinding future star, a switch-hitting 6-foot-5 shortstop with light-tower power, blazing speed, and a cannon for an arm. Only 21, he’s already a force on the big league roster and a national media darling. Ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, he’s the most exciting young Reds talent since Eric Davis—and, if you can believe it, De La Cruz may be even more athletic than Davis. Yeah, he’s that good.

Read Chad’s weekly Reds columns at

The Next Bengals Star

The Cincinnati Bengals are associated with flash and dash, but controlled violence remains an integral part of professional football. That’s what cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt brings to the table, along with top-end speed, smarts, and competitive fire. CTB was thrown in as a rookie last season when injuries hit and not only held his own but was a crucial cog in the team’s run to the brink of the Super Bowl. Under Lou Anarumo, Taylor-Britt should ascend another level to top-of-the-league status over the next season-plus.

Read Robert’s weekly Bengals columns at

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