The summer of 2019 keeps getting better for Columbus Crew SC Homegrown player Aboubacar Keita. On Wednesday, it was announced by Major League Soccer that the defender would be a member of the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game roster. The game is a part of the festivities leading up to the 2019 MLS All-Star game later this month.
Keita, a Columbus native, began playing soccer at 14 years old. Two years later, he was recruited join the Crew Academy, playing at the Under-17/18 and Under-18/19 levels and making 43 total appearances while scoring one goal. Keita was also a frequent invitee to first-team training, even taking part in the Crew’s 2018 preseason trip and making an appearance for the Black & Gold.
After one season at the University of Virginia in 2018, where he started all 17 games for a Cavaliers team that allowed just 12 goals and made the NCAA Tournament, Keita signed a Homegrown contract with the Black & Gold in January. In his rookie season, Keita spent time on loan Richmond Kickers, making three appearances before suffering an injury, and made his Crew debut in the recent 1-0 loss Real Salt Lake.
“We are proud to have Bouba represent Columbus Crew SC in the MLS Homegrown Game,” Crew 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 isn’t new to selections this season. He was already a member of the United States Under-20 National Team that took part in the U-20 World Cup. There, Keita played in every game, helping the team advance to the tournament quarterfinals. The Crew prodigy played an integral role in the U.S.’s run at the World Cup, knocking out favorites France in the Round of 16 along the way.
The 19-year-old defender is the fourth Columbus player ever to be named to the MLS Homegrown Game roster, joining current captain Wil Trapp and former players Matt Lampson and Ben Swanson.
The 2019 MLS Homegrown Game will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday, July 30 against Chivas de Guadalajara’s Under-20 Team. The game kicks off at 5:00 p.m.