Ben Sweat, a player who was initially thought to only provide depth when it came to backing up Ronald Matarrita, has received his first-ever call-up to the United States national team!
A former first-round draft pick for Columbus Crew SC back in 2014, Sweat struggled to find playing time with the first team and was loaned out to the USL’s Dayton Dutch Lions for much of the year. Despite never getting a really good look, Sweat was waived by the Crew following the 2014 season. Determined, Sweat would then return to his native Florida to play for the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he would stay throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
He would get another shot at an MLS career in 2017 where he would trial for Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC. Despite not particularly standing out in the preseason, Sweat would be given a contract with the team for the 2017 season.
After star left back Ronald Matarrita fell to injury that April, Sweat earned his first-ever MLS start on April 29, 2017 against none other than his former Columbus. In a debut of epic proportions, Sweat played a full 90 minutes and collected an assist in what would ultimately become a 3-2 win.
From there, Sweat made 25 starts over the course of the 2017 season and became somewhat of a cult hero among NYCFC fans. Whether it be his immaculate first touch, his high football IQ, or his pure determination, the Blues faithful have had little bad to say about Sweat and is ability on the pitch.
Though the timing of this call-up might be a bit crappy considering his awful mistake against Minnesota United this past weekend, Sweat’s overall body of work has definitely deemed him worth a look for the USMNT for all future friendlies as they venture towards returning to the World Cup for 2022.
Congratulations, Ben! This is long overdue. Give ‘em hell!