PHILADELPHIA — The Columbus Crew today bolstered its roster with its selection in the 2014 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, as the Black & Gold added University of South Florida defender Ben Sweat. Sweat, a former Columbus Crew Juniors Super-20 member and a 2013 First Team All-American Conference player, was selected 14th overall.
A 6-foot-2, 175 pound defender, Sweat is the University of South Florida’s all-time leader in appearances with 78 during his four-year college career. In his freshmen season, he helped anchor a backline that posted 10 shutouts. Following a two-goal season as a sophomore (2012), he was second on the team in assists in 2011, recording a career-high five helpers while also guiding the Bulls’ defense to seven shutouts. During his final season, the Palm Harbor, Fla. native started all 21 games and his side collectively posted eight shutouts en route to Sweat’s first team All-America Conference honors.
"We got an exciting player. Ben is a very dynamic player that likes to get up and down the wing," said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. "He has a good left foot, good crossing of the ball, good offensive skills. He was very high on our board and he represented a great value in terms of quality versus where he was being drafted. It was something we couldn’t pass-up."
Sweat was also a member of the Columbus Crew Juniors Super-20 side that took home the 2011 National Title alongside Homegrown Player Wil Trapp and recently signed Homegrowns Matt Walker and Ross Friedman. In 2013, Sweat played with Premier Development League side Reading United in 2013 and recorded one goal and two assists in eight games. Additionally, Sweat played every minute of Reading United’s run to the Third Round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
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The Black & Gold traded its natural 2014 Second Round selection (23rd overall) earlier in the week as part of a deal with the LA Galaxy that brought midfielder Hector Jimenez to the Crew and the First Round pick to eventually select Sweat. The Third and Fourth Rounds of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft are set to take place via conference call on January 21, 2014. The Crew has the fourth pick of the Third Round (42nd overall).
Players report to Columbus on January 24 for the club’s entrance physicals, and they will train in Central Ohio for two days to officially open preseason camp. On January 26, the team heads to Bradenton, Fla. to train at the IMG Academy for 13 days before returning to Columbus on February 7.
Full preseason schedule information, along with comprehensive coverage of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, can be found viaTheCrew.com/DraftCentral.