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Ben Speas to Retire After a Nine-Year Professional Soccer Career

November 10, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - North Carolina FC News Release

Cary, NC - North Carolina FC midfielder Ben Speas announced today his retirement from professional soccer after a nine-year career in the MLS, NASL, and USL. Speas spent time throughout his career with the Columbus Crew, Minnesota United, Indy Eleven, and North Carolina FC.

"I want to thank everyone at North Carolina FC for welcoming me and my family to the club," said Speas. "It has meant a lot to me to represent such a great organization. I want to thank Steve Malik, Curt Johnson, the front office, and the voice of North Carolina FC, Dean Linke. I want to thank my teammates and the coaching staff. Having been around many coaches in my career, I can say Dave is right at the top of my list. I can't thank him enough, a true leader, teacher, and a genuine person. We are lucky as a club to have him. I want to thank the Oak City Supporters for being so loud for us throughout every game, and for my son after the game. This is a special memory I will never forget."

Speas joined North Carolina FC on loan from Indy Eleven in 2019, returning to a North Carolina team for the first time since winning the NCAA Championship with the University of North Carolina in 2011. In two seasons with NCFC, the midfielder made 44 appearances, 38 of which were starts, for a total of 3,226 minutes. He found the back of the net three times and had eight assists in an NCFC uniform.

"I want to personally thank Ben for his contribution to our club both on and off the field," said NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan. "It has been a privilege to get to know Ben and to work with him over the past two seasons. When I had the opportunity to acquire Ben from Indianapolis, I didn't hesitate. I knew I was getting a player with experience, talent and integrity- a true professional and a dedicated family man. I congratulate Ben for a long and successful career in professional soccer and wish him the very best as he moves on to the next chapter of his career."

Speas had an extremely successful career before joining NCFC, dating back to 2012 when he signed with the Columbus Crew in the MLS. Growing up in Ohio, Speas developed in the Columbus Crew Academy which provided him the opportunity to sign as a Homegrown Player with the team. From 2012-2015, Speas made 42 appearances for 1,934 minutes.

In 2016, Speas played one season with Minnesota United as the team played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) at the time. He made 26 appearances and scored four goals during the season.

Indy Eleven became Speas' new home in 2017 where the team played in the NASL for one year before the United Soccer League (USL) came into the picture in 2018. For the Eleven, Speas played more than 3,000 minutes and scored seven goals and had seven assists in the two seasons in Indianapolis.

Before the professional level, Speas had an outstanding college career at the University of Akron and later UNC. In his two years at Akron, he won the Mid-American Conference Regular Season and Conference Tournament Championships both seasons. His team also won the NCAA Championship in 2010. Speas joined UNC in 2011 where he won another NCAA Championship and was named the Most Valuable Player.

"It was an honor to wear this jersey and I will forever hold you all close to my heart," Speas said. "Keep an eye out in the future for my family and I cheering the team on from the stands!"

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