COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has signed Crew SC Academy product and University of Virginia defender Aboubacar Keita (pronounced: ah-BOO-bah-car KAY-tah) as a Homegrown Player. Keita becomes the third Crew SC Academy product on the Club’s current roster – joining Wil Trapp and Alex Crognale – and is the 12th Homegrown Player signing in Crew history.
Keita, a Columbus, Ohio native, started every match for the University of Virginia, making 17 appearances (all starts) and scoring one goal in 2018. His efforts in his first year at the University of Virginia helped his team to a winning 10-4-3 overall record. Additionally, the defender played a key role in the Virginia Cavaliers’ Third Round run in the 2018 NCAA College Cup. Keita’s performance earned him a spot in the All-Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman Team.
“We are excited to officially welcome Aboubacar to the First Team as he has long been a part of the Columbus Crew SC family,” said President Tim Bezbatchenko. “It’s always a proud moment for the Club when an Academy player is able to make the transition onto the First Team, and it reinforces our belief about the long-term importance of investing in and developing Academy talent. This is a special day for Aboubacar, the Keita family and for the Crew.”
Prior to his time with the University of Virginia, Keita played for the Crew SC Academy from 2016-2018, featuring for the Under-17/18 and U-18/19 squads. In all, the 18-year-old made 43 appearances (42 starts) for Crew SC Academy, scoring one goal. In 2018, Keita joined the Crew SC First Team during preseason camp, starting in a 2-1 victory over the Charleston Battery on February 21 in a Carolina Challenge Cup match.
At the international level, Keita has featured for the U.S. Under-19 and U-20 Men’s National Team, most recently earning a call-up to the U-20 training camp on January 4 of this year.
Crew SC’s 2019 MLS preseason training begins on Wednesday at SuperKick – the Crew’s Official Indoor Training Facility --after entrance physicals and testing. From there, the club departs to Chula Vista, California for its preseason camp. The Black & Gold are slated to remain in California through February 6 before returning to Columbus. The team will be in Central Ohio from February 7-12 before traveling to Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup.
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC signs defender and Crew SC Academy product Aboubacar Keita as a Homegrown Player onJanuary 22, 2019.
Name: Aboubacar Keita (pronounced: ah-BOO-bah-car KAY-tah)
Born: April 6, 2000 in New York, New York
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed as a Homegrown Player on January 22, 2019.
Previous Experience: University of Virginia (2018)