Ben Sweat in action for NYCFC
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New York City FC sign former Columbus defender Ben Sweat

New York City FC announced on Thursday that they’ve signed defender Ben Sweat.

Sweat, 25, was drafted by Columbus Crew SC in the first round of the 2014 SuperDraft but did not make an appearance for the club’s first-team before being waived following his rookie year. He spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in NASL, appearing 33 times with the club.

He’d been on trial with NYCFC throughout the preseason.

“Ben gives us more depth at the back. He can play as a left-back or as a left-sided center back,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said in a statement released by the club. “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.”

Prior to being drafted by Columbus, Sweat spent four years at the University of South Florida, making 73 appearances in his college career. He’s featured for NYCFC against Jacksonville University, Ecuadorian club Emelec, the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo this preseason.