COLUMBUS – In conjunction with Major League Soccer, Columbus Crew SC today announced that defender Aboubacar Keita has been selected for the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®, as part of the festivities leading up to the 2019 MLS All-Star Game. The squad of Homegrown Players is set to take on Chivas de Guadalajara’s Under-20 Team at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday, July 30 (5:00 p.m. ET / TUDN, Twitter.com). Keita is the fourth player in Club history to be named to an MLS Homegrown Game roster.
“We are proud to have Bouba represent Columbus Crew SC in the MLS Homegrown Game,” said Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Bouba’s selection to the Homegrown Game roster speaks to his hard work and dedication, for which he is being recognized, as well as to the success of the Crew SC Academy and the quality of talent that we have available in our backyard.”
Keita, 19, joined Crew SC as a Homegrown Player on January 22, 2019. The defender made his 2019 regular-season debut for the Black & Gold as a starter in a road contest against Real Salt Lake (July 3), becoming the third-youngest player to make a regular-season start for the Crew at 19 years and 88 days, as well as the fifth youngest player to play in regular-season action for the Club. Earlier this season, Keita spent some time on loan with the Richmond Kickers of the USL, where he made three appearances (two starts) for the Kickers.
Before joining the Crew SC First Team, Keita started every match for the University of Virginia during the 2018 season, making 17 appearances (all starts) and scoring one goal. 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.
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, Keita made five appearances (all starts) for the U-20 side during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, helping the U.S. reach the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Up next for the Crew is a road contest against Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium on Saturday, July 13 [7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO (Stream) 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English); ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].