Columbus deepen midfield with draft additions

The Columbus Crew returned to a neighboring state to pluck two more players from Tuesday’s MLS Supplemental Draft.

With the 30th pick, they selected Butler University midfielder Ben Sippola, the Horizon Conference player of the year in 2010 for the Indianapolis school.

The Crew then tabbed Indiana University midfielder/forward Andy Adlard at No. 48. The club used the 12th overall selection in last week’s SuperDraft on Adlard's Indiana teammate Rich Balchan, a defender.

Their head coach at IU was former Crew defender Todd Yeagley and his assistant is ex-Crew midfielder Brian Maisonneuve.

“Todd and Mais know what we are looking for, not only what the players can do with the ball but the mentality,” Columbus coach Robert Warzycha said. “They’re recruiting the right players. That’s why they can fit in right away in a professional environment.”

The Crew staff saw Adlard play numerous times in the past four years and started keeping a close eye on Sippola during his junior and senior seasons.

“Sippola had a good career at Butler, and Butler, as a team, had their best four years and he was a big part of it,” Crew technical director Brian Bliss.

Both players add depth to Columbus’ midfielder, but their strengths differ.

“Sippola is a two-way guy, but he’s probably hedging more to the defensive side,” Bliss said. “Adlard is a two-way guy hedging more to the offensive side. [Adlard] can play wide right. He can play an attacking role. He can play the second forward, but he’s probably a little bit small for that role.”

Adlard (5-foot-9, 150 pounds) hails from Hartland, Wisc., and his father, Steve Adlard, was a goalkeeper at England side Nottingham Forest’s system and a former head coach at Marquette University.

Andy Adlard had seven goals and seven assists in 20 games for the Hoosiers last season and had 55 career points (19 goals, 17 assists).

“He played behind two forwards,” Warzycha said. “He can play in the midfield toward the middle. He is a good overall player. He is not flashy.”

Sippola (5-foot-8, 150 pounds) had eight goals and nine assists while starting all 20 games for the Bulldogs in 2010 when the Northfield, Minn., native was one of 15 semifinalists for the Hermann Trophy, given to the top collegian.

“He’s more of a holding midfielder,” Warzycha said. “He’s not a tall guy, but he covers a lot of ground and he is a good passer. He’s tough. He’s aggressive.”

The Crew still need a third goalkeeper behind William Hesmer and Andy Gruenebaum who can play in the new reserve league. Warzycha said several of the ‘keepers not taken Tuesday could be invited to camp when it begins Thursday.


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