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MLS Draft 2019: D.C. United select Creighton defender Akeem Ward

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United addressed a position of need, adding Vienna, VA native to solidify their back four

MLS: SuperDraft Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports

D.C United’s needs at right back are well-known, and the team addressed that today at the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by selecting Creighton Bluejays right back Akeem Ward. After a season at NAIA school Hastings College, Ward — a former ballboy for United — transferred to Creighton for his sophomore year in 2016 before blossoming into a regular starter as a junior. He scored 2 goals and added 4 assists for the Bluejays this past season, starting 18 games for a side that gave up just 12 goals on the season.

Ward will have an immediate shot at regular playing time. United is short at both right back and left back, and both GM Dave Kasper and head coach Ben Olsen cited Ward’s ability to play either position as part of the appeal for him. With Nick DeLeon being taken by Toronto FC in the Re-Entry Draft, Oniel Fisher out of contract and months away from recovering from a severe knee injury and Chris Odoi-Atsem battling Hodkin’s lymphoma, Ward could end up getting starts straight away if he proves himself in training camp. The prospect of being a regular for Loudoun United FC, D.C.’s brand new USL Championship satellite club, is also a possibility, ensuring a chance for Ward to develop quickly either way.

United also couldn’t help but note the appeal of taking a local product, as Ward grew up in Vienna, VA and played for Bethesda Soccer Club growing up. Aside from his connections as a former ballboy at RFK Stadium, Ward, who turned 23 just last week, said in his speech that he was glad to be coming home to start his professional career.