On Friday afternoon in … D.C. United selected defender Akeem Ward with the 14th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, welcoming a new member to the black and red family for a highly anticipated 2019 season.
Ward played soccer for three years at Creighton University after transferring from Hastings College after his freshman year. That freshman season saw Ward score two goals and notch five assists, earning a 2015 USC Second Team NAIA All-American.
He improved after transferring to Creighton. He scored two goals and six assists in 47 appearances with the Bluejays and earned some impressive accolades in 2018 including a USC First Team All-East Region selection and a First Team All-Big East Conference after scoring two goals and netting four assists.
“He’s the best right back in the draft. He can also play on the left. He’s very versatile,” said D.C. United General Manager and Vice President of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper.
“We like his ability to get forward, we like his ability to connect passes and build up and he can certainly defend. He’s got good speed and is a good all-around player.”
Ward, 23, is no stranger to the DMV having been born locally in Vienna, Virginia. He attended D.C. United games at RFK Stadium as a fan and even spent a stint of his life as a ball boy.
“He’s very pleased to come home,” Kasper added.
When Ward addressed the media, he couldn’t stop smiling as a childhood dream was realized.
“I can’t even put it into words honestly,” Ward said.
“This is amazing coming and growing up, going to D.C. United games, and then finally being able to go back as a professional there is amazing. It’s a surreal experience and I’m just ready to get going.”
Ward grew up as a big D.C. United fan and he’s coming home with an exciting season ahead. Training camp is just weeks away and D.C. United will open the season at Audi Field, their beautiful new stadium they called home since the mid-summer of last year.
“That (new stadium) can create a buzz around D.C. because it’s D.C.’s team. The new stadium is so beautiful and it just brings the buzz to the fans and to the players and everyone’s gonna want to play for more,” said Ward.
When asked what his goals are his rookie season in D.C., Ward responded, “Start contributing in any way possible so whatever it may be. I’m just here for the ride and I’m ready to just give everything I have for the city.”
D.C. United opens their season on March 3rd vs. Atlanta United FC at Audi Field.
Top photo: D.C. United