Meet the Draftees: Columbus Crew

By J.J. Zucal
Jerry Lai-USA Today Sports

The Columbus Crew began its training camp this week with the addition of five players the club selected in Major League Soccer‘s two drafts.

Ryan Finley, who was selected ninth overall in the SuperDraft, recorded 56 career goals as he spent his first two seasons at Duke before he transferred to Notre Dame. Much of that came last season when the forward finished second among NCAA Division 1 players with 21 goals. That production led to Finley being named Offensive Player of the Year by the Big East Conference, to the Big East and National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s All-American first team, and as a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist. Finley has represented the United States in its U-17, U-18 and U-20 National Teams.

“Ryan is a player that scores goals— whether he’s starting the game or on the bench, we know he can change a game,” said head coach Robert Warzycha. “Size never hurts, and Ryan is a forward that doesn’t shy away from physical contact. That’s why he’s so successful and scores goals.”

Drew Beckie, taken in the SuperDraft at No. 28, played 78 games over four years as a defender at the University of Denver, recording seven goals and six assists in his college career. Beckie has represented Canada at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels as well as in its 2012 Olympic qualifying effort.

“Another priority position for us was center-back, and Drew is a strong fit in that role,” said president and general manager Mark McCullers. “He’s a versatile player that can also play right-back, and we think he has strong potential and will provide cover across our back line.”

Reed Matte played four years as an outside defender at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Matte, who was selected ninth overall in the supplemental draft, posted two goals and three assists as he played in all 20 of the Blazers’ matches last season. He also was recognized for his academic work by being named to the NSCAA Academic All-American team.

Daniel Withrow was named last season’s Co-Player of the Year by Conference USA after he recorded a career-high nine shutouts at Marshall University. Selected 28th in the supplemental draft, Withrow had 21 shutouts, in 67 career appearances, during his four-year career with the Thundering Herd. He was a Conference USA first-team selection three times and won the league’s Defender of the Year Award in 2010.

Shawn Sloan was a four-time Big South Conference first-team midfielder at High Point University. Sloan, picked 66th in the supplemental draft, produced well from the midfield as he posted 24 goals and 27 assists during his career. On the education side, he was honored as the conference’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

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