USF men’s soccer alumni Ben Sweat received his first call up to the international level on Monday when the U.S. Men’s National Team released their roster for upcoming friendlies.
The current New York City FC defender has been a regular starter for the team, but his addition to the U.S. squad caught most people by surprise. Sweat has appeared in 27 games this season, starting in 23. The Palm Harbor native helped NYCFC to third in the Eastern Conference, and has already locked up a spot in the playoffs this season.
I am extremely honored and blessed to have received this opportunity. It has always been on my list of goals in my career and I couldn’t be anymore grateful and excited to wear the crest of the @ussoccer_mnt and represent this entire country. @nycfc #nycfc #usmnt pic.twitter.com/rqDhTgdWsM— Ben Sweat (@22BenSweat) October 1, 2018
The 27-year-old has particularly strong ties to the Tampa area, playing two season with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2015 and 2016. Sweat was drafted by the Colombus Crew in the first round of the 2014 SuperDraft, but was waived at the end of the season.
Sweat isn’t the first USF alumni to be called up to the national team recently. Striker Dom Dwyer of Orlando City was also called in for Gold Cup matches in 2017 (but was infamously unused in the game in Tampa vs Martinique). Recent rumblings have suggested that former USF defender Brendan Hines-Ike might also get a call up in the near future, but the 23-year-old will remain with Belgian club team KV Kortrijk for this round of friendlies.
The USA has two games upcoming, with the first in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday, October 11 vs Colombia, the second vs Peru on Tuesday, October 16.