The Swope Park Rangers have added midfielder Rodrigo Saravia ahead of the 2018 campaign, the club announced today. Saravia has been under contract with MLS side Columbus Crew SC since beginning his professional career in 2016 and will officially join the Rangers roster pending league and federation approval.
Saravia, 24, was selected in the first round (19th overall) of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by Columbus and signed with the club later in preseason. He made 12 overall appearances for Crew SC throughout his rookie campaign – including a 12-minute cameo in a 3-2 loss to Sporting KC at Children’s Mercy Park on July 3, 2016.
Saravia started once in MLS action – a 4-3 victory over Real Salt Lake on May 28, 2016 – while also earning a pair of starts in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Guatemala City native also made two appearances while on loan with Columbus’ USL affiliate, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, in 2016.
Ahead of the 2017 season, Saravia joined Swedish Superettan outfit IK Frej on a season-long loan from the Crew. Following a preseason injury setback, Saravia eventually made his debut for IK Frej against Syrianska FC on June 17, 2017. He scored his first professional goal for Frej, coming in a 3-1 victory over Örgryte on August 18, 2017.
Frej ended the season narrowly avoiding relegation from Superettan, with Saravia appearing off the bench in the first leg of the relegation playoffs, which ended in a 1-1 draw on aggregate against Spånga IP as Frej survived to remain in Superettan on the away goals tiebreaker.
Saravia spent his youth career with Antigua GFC in his native Guatemala before being recruited to play college soccer at Florida Gulf Coast University. He went on to make 67 appearances for the Eagles, recording two goals and seven assists across four seasons.
During his time at FGCU, Saravia earned Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team honors in his first season, All-Conference Second Team as a sophomore, All-Conference First Team and Academic All-Conference Team as a junior before being named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year as a senior, while also earning All-Conference First Team and NSCAA All-Region Third Team accolades in his final year.
Saravia has six caps for the Guatemala National Team since making his debut in a friendly against Honduras on February 10, 2016. Two of his six caps came against the U.S. National Team in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Born: 2/22/93 (24 years old)
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hometown: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Birthplace: Guatemala City, Guatemala