The offseason never stops. Just a day after Columbus Crew SC announced the loan deal for Egyptian defender Amro Tarek, the Black & Gold announced the signing of its first-round draft pick, Rodrigo Saravia.
The holding midfielder was selected 19th overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDaft in January after a productive college career with Florida Golf Coast University.
"Rodrigo has shown well during our first preseason camp in Lakewood Ranch and we are eager to monitor his development," sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in the team's release. "We selected him based on both his play and his character and he has certainly showed promise thus far. He will provide important midfield depth to our squad and we are confident that he will continue to develop as he transitions from college to the professional game."
Saravia made 67 appearances - 65 starts - for the Eagles over his four-year collegiate career scoring two goals and adding seven assists. During his senior season, Saravia was named Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year as well as being named to the All-Atlantic Sun Conference first team for the second consecutive year.
The midfielder has represented Guatemala at the youth levels with the U-20 and U-23 teams. Saravia also trained with the senior side, but is year to make an appearance. Savaria will occupy an international roster spot.
As Berhalter stated, Saravia is expected to provide depth in the central midfield positions. With Homegrown product Wil Trapp likely to miss time throughout the season with the United States U-23s as they look to qualify for this summer's Olympic games and possibly the senior national team, Berhalter needed cover after the departure of Kevan George this offseason.
With Tony Tchani making his first appearance for the U.S. in last week's friendly, Saravia could also help provide cover if the midfielder is called in more frequently.
Crew SC is currently in the first stage of preseason training in Lakewood Ranch, FL. The team returns to Columbus early next week for training in town from Feb. 8-12 before leaving for the Desert Diamond Cup from Feb. 15-27. The Black & Gold begin the 2016 season on the road March 6 in an MLS Cup Final rematch with the Portland Timbers.