The Ohio native has won back-to-back NCAA championships, and was named the 2011 College Cup MVP.The Columbus Crew announced they have signed University of North Carolina forward and Crew Soccer Academy product Ben Speas to a multi-year contract as a Home Grown Player. Per league policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed.
Speas, who will be 21 next week, has won back-to-back NCAA championships, first with Akron in 2010 and most recently with UNC after transferring following the 2010 season.
Last month, Speas scored the lone goal in UNC's 1-0 victory over UNC-Charlotte in the 2011 NCAA Men’s College Cup final, and was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the NCAA tournament. Overall in 2011, he appeared in 26 matches and tallied seven goals and 10 assists.
"Ben is a talented young player who we have had the good fortune to work with and watch develop over the last four years," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "He has the ability to get out of tight spaces quickly, combines well with others and has good vision. We are proud that he has earned the opportunity to progress to the professional level."
Speas becomes the Crew's third Home Grown player, along with forward Aaron Horton and goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
"I can’t wait to finally put on the Black and Gold," Speas said. "I've been going to Crew games since I was eight years old and have been able to see most of my coaches play at Crew Stadium, so this is a dream come true."
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