Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has loaned midfielders Marshall Hollingsworth and Ben Swanson to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League (USL). Both Hollingsworth and Swanson are the first players loaned to the Riverhounds under the clubs' new affiliate partnership, announced prior to the 2016 season. Per the Right of Recall incorporated in both loan agreements, Crew SC retains the right to recall either player at any point during the MLS regular season, subject to MLS roster compliance guidelines.
“Marshall and Ben will benefit from valuable match experience while with Pittsburgh,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “We look forward to monitoring their progress during their time on loan.”
Hollingsworth officially signed with Crew SC on March 4, 2016 after being drafted by the Black & Gold in the Second Round (41st overall) of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Before being selected by Crew SC, he participated in the club's College Combine at MAPFRE Stadium.
The midfielder made 92 appearances for Wheaton College over his four seasons with the Thunder, making 85 starts. He scored 45 goals and added 21 assists for his collegiate career, including a 22-goal season in 2015, which ranked seventh in program history for single-season tallies. In the 2016 preseason, he made two appearances for Crew SC in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson.
Swanson became Crew SC's ninth-ever Homegrown Player when he signed his first professional contract with the team on October 16, 2014. A native of Grove City, he began his soccer career at age eight with Crew SC Player Development before progressing to the Crew SC Academy. During his rookie season in 2015, he made an appearance against La Liga side Valencia CF in a friendly at MAPFRE Stadium (May 27). He made one appearance for the Black & Gold during the Desert Diamond Cup.
A United States youth international, Swanson received his first-ever call-up from the U.S. Under-20 side on August 28, 2015 ahead of a training camp in Serbia, earning his first cap with the team on September 3, 2015. He previously represented the U-18s, including wearing the captain's armband on multiple occasions.
Hollingsworth and Swanson become the first Crew SC players to join the Riverhounds as part of the clubs' affiliate partnership, announced on December 16, 2015. The Riverhounds were an inaugural member of USL in its current form when the league was founded ahead of the 2011 season. Led by Head Coach Mark Steffens, the Riverhounds begin their 2016 season on Saturday, April 2 with a home contest against the Rochester Rhinos.
The Black & Gold continue the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season by opening a three-match road regular-season swing on Saturday at Chicago (5:00 p.m. ET / FOX-28, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
TRANSACTIONS: Crew SC loans midfielders Marshall Hollingsworth and Ben Swanson to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) on March 17, 2016.