|Ben Sweat - Photo courtesy NYCFC.|
New York City Football Club announced the signing of Ben Sweat on Thursday. The 25-year old defender signs after spending preseason with the team in Florida, Ecuador and Arizona.
Sweat told NYCFC.com: “Watching from afar, from the moment NYCFC joined the league I knew that this one of the best clubs out there to come to as a professional - I couldn’t have landed at a more perfect place.
“I was happy just to come here on trial to try and make a good, positive impression and so to sign a contract here is a dream come true for me.
“I’m truly honored to wear the NYCFC badge and to represent in front of a great crowd at Yankee Stadium – I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity and for the chance I’ve been given.”
NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said: “Ben gives us more depth at the back. He can play as a left-back or as a left-sided center back.
“To have Ben in the squad also gives me a good option if we want to play three at the back as he can play on the left-hand side or as one of the three.
“What is really interesting about him is that he’s really comfortable on the ball and he’s very aggressive when he’s defending.
“Ben also has a really good spirit, he’s working really hard and he’s a fighter – he will compete for a spot in the team and he will bring a lot of challenges to the other players in his position.”
Sporting Director Claudio Reyna added: “Ben has come in and done really well – we needed cover at left-back and also at left central defense and right from the beginning, he’s demonstrated a clear understanding of how Patrick wants this team to play.
“He’s got a really good left foot and he seems like someone who has adapted to our style right from day one. He knows the league, he’s young and he’s going to be a good addition to this squad.”
Sweat enjoyed a four-year college career with South Florida Bulls, making 73 appearances before he was taken by Columbus Crew in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft where he was selected as the 14th overall pick in the First Round.
The Floridian went on loan to The Crew’s USL affiliate club Dayton Dutch Lions and then signed for Tampa Bay Rowdies in March 2015.
Ben represented The Rowdies on 33 occasions across two seasons before joining NYCFC for preseason where he has featured against Jacksonville University, Emelec, Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo.
A versatile defender, capable of playing at full-back or in central defense, Sweat adds to Vieira’s backline options going into NYCFC’s third MLS season.