When you spend your entire life working towards something, the day you achieve it is a pretty special day. As a soccer player, that goal is to become a professional. That dream was just achieved for Sergio Campbell, who Columbus Crew SC took with the 19th pick in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.
"It was an incredible experience," Campbell told TheCrew.com in regards to being drafted by Crew SC. "Everyone dreams to be drafted and to play professional soccer and when I see Columbus Crew came up that I'm going there, I feel overwhelmed.
"I talked to them at the combine and they had great things to say. They have a good fan base and they always try and play good soccer and I'm really looking forward to being a part of a system like that. So I was happy when I heard them call my name."
Campbell played three seasons at the University of Connecticut, starting all 64 of the matches over that span. He helped the Huskies to 33 shutouts over the three years and was the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and a member of American Athletic Conference All-First Team in 2013 and 2014. Campbell also made two appearances with the Jamaican National Team in the 2010 Caribbean Championship.
Along with his lengthy list of credentials, Gregg Berhalter was impressed with what he saw from Campbell at the MLS combine. The Crew SC head coach and sporting director wants solid defenders who are able to play the game on the ground and he believes Campbell fits the bill.
"Sergio is a guy with a lot of potential," he told the media after the draft. "He's played for the Jamaican full National Team already. We see some great physical attributes. On the ball he's good. In one v. one situations he's very good. He's very agile. On the 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."
Campbell agreed that he fits well in the system Berhalter employs because he played the same way in college. According to the defender, UConn preferred to keep the ball and move it around instead of playing long balls like many colleges programs.
At 6-4, 192 pounds, Campbell is the tallest defender on the Columbus roster. He, along with fellow center back Emanuel Pogatetz who played only two games for Crew SC last year after joining in early September, will add a physically imposing body to the Black and Gold back line. It will also give them more height which they lost when Giancarlo Gonzalez left the club.
One thing Campbell is excited for in Columbus is the fan base. He's used to a raucous crowd with UConn and has heard good things about Crew SC fans and the Nordecke.
"Here at UConn, our fan base is crazy and I heard that it's similar here," he explained. "So I'm just looking forward to play good soccer and be a part of a good program."
In terms of anything he wants the Crew SC faithful to know about him, Campbell said he's all about getting to work.
"I'm a real humble guy and I'm hardworking because of my background overall," he said. "I'm a hardworking guy trying to be successful and trying to win titles. That's all. Just come in there to play good soccer and then to be a role model to younger people in the community."