Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has signed free agent defender Ben Sweat. The left back has been added to Sporting’s roster, signing a two-year MLS contract through 2023 with an option for 2024.
"I'm very excited to be joining Sporting KC," Sweat said. "This is a winning club and organization that is a top team in the League every year. I want to come to Kansas City, work my hardest for the fans and put some silver on my shelves."
Sweat, 30, has started 89 of 102 MLS matches (including playoffs) and eclipsed 150 total appearances during a professional career that began in 2014 and includes previous MLS stints with the Columbus Crew, New York City FC, Inter Miami CF and Austin FC. The left back also earned two caps for the United States Men’s National Team in October 2018, featuring in friendlies against Colombia and Peru.
Sweat began his professional journey as a 2014 MLS SuperDraft first-round selection, joining the Columbus Crew and spending most of his rookie campaign on loan with second-division side Dayton Dutch Lions. He would spend each of the next two seasons in the North American Soccer League with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he started in all 36 matches prior to departing at the end of 2016.
Sweat made his jump to MLS following a successful trial with New York City FC in early 2017, beginning an excellent three-year stint at the club. He was a breakout performer in his first season, tallying a goal and ranking third on the team with six assists while starting in 25 of 26 regular season appearances as the Blues finished second in the Supporters’ Shield table. Sweat also played in every minute of both NYCFC playoff matches against Columbus, including a 2-0 second-leg victory at Yankee Stadium.
The 2018 campaign saw Sweat remain a consistent presence along NYCFC’s backline. He started 24 of 28 regular season appearances and started in all three playoff matches, with NYCFC ousting the Philadelphia Union in the Knockout Round before falling to eventual champions Atlanta United FC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Sweat ended his tenure at NYCFC in 2019, starting 15 of 20 games in all competitions while helping the club reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the third straight year.
Sweat was selected by Inter Miami CF with the first overall pick in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft and appeared in 22 of the club’s 23 regular season matches during their maiden MLS campaign in 2020. He earned 20 starts and recorded assists in rivalry wins over Orlando City SC on Aug. 22 and Atlanta United FC on Sept. 9.
On Dec. 13, Sweat was traded to another MLS newcomer in Austin FC. He started the first two matches in club history last April before missing the remainder of the season through injury.
On the international stage, Sweat represented the United States at the U-20 level in 2010 and earned his first call-up to the U.S. MNT in October 2018. He made his senior debut as a late substitute in a friendly loss to Chile on Oct. 11 and five days later went the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 friendly draw against Peru.
Born and raised in Palm Harbor, Florida, Sweat enjoyed a standout four-year college career at the University of South Florida. He set a program record with 78 career appearances, recording three goals and eight assists while contributing to 31 shutouts and helping the Bulls to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. As a senior, Sweat was named to the All-American Athletic Conference First Team and guided the Bulls to their first American Athletic Conference Tournament title.
Sporting will continue to build its 2022 squad ahead of the new MLS season, which will kick off Feb. 27 when Manager Peter Vermes’ side visits Atlanta United FC in a 2 p.m. CT showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For a full list of Sporting’s offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/news/tracker.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs free agent defender Ben Sweat to a two-year contract through 2023 with an option for 2024.
Born: 9/4/1991 (30 years old)
Weight: 176 lbs.
Hometown: Palm Harbor, Florida
Birthplace: Palm Harbor, Florida
Previous Club: Austin FC