Columbus Crew SC selected a player in each of the first two rounds of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, filling two needs that Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said he and his staff identified before the day began.
"They're both very coachable players," Berhalter told reporters on a conference call Thursday. "They both want to improve and get better and they have a lot of potential. We look for guys with good character, and these two guys fit the bill."
University of Connecticut junior Campbell was selected with the 19th overall pick after Crew SC traded down in the first round. Campbell is a Jamaica native and has featured with his National Team twice.
The club traded their 14th overall pick to the Colorado Rapids for their 19th overall selection, defender Chris Klute and allocation money.
"We felt that by moving down, we'd be in no worse of a position to get the player we wanted than in our current position," he said.
Campbell said he hoped Crew SC would select him, and thinks Columbus is a good fit.
"At UConn, we always possess the ball and let the other team chase a lot," he said. "I guess our style of play here at UConn fits [Crew SC's] style of play. I know the MLS style of play can’t really be compared to college…but playing over time, I know I can match up to the standard."
And Berhalter thinks Campbell has all the tools to succeed.
"We see some great physical attributes," he said. "On the ball, he's good. In one-on-one situations he's very good. He's very agile. On his mental testing, he tested one of the highest in the group. Overall, we thought this was a great guy to work with and a great guy to develop."
Lev-Ari is an even more interesting situation. The Israel native spent three years in the Israeli Defense Force before going to California State-Northridge for three seasons. At 25, he was the oldest selection of the first two rounds, which wasn't a concern for Berhalter.
"We went back and forth on that, and there's no real disadvantage to being older," Berhalter said. "We look at the window where we want production from him, and we're going to be able to get it in the near future."
Lev-Ari said he always expected to go to Columbus, and thinks the club gives him the best chance to make it in MLS.
"I know a lot about the team. I know they possess the ball…and they’re a really good team," he said. "I think I’m going to be very good in the system. If they possess the ball and give me some opportunities, hopefully I can score some goals. I’ve scored double-digits the last three years and hopefully I can score some more goals for Columbus."
Both players are internationals and will require international roster spots, a factor that Berhalter said will have a minimal effect on their future.
"That is a tricky part, but I think, looking at our current group, we have spots available and we're going to potentially use them on these players," he said. "It will impact their chances of making the team a little bit, but not totally."
Andrew King covers Columbus Crew SC for MLSsoccer.com.