Just over a month ahead of their debut, Charlotte FC selected Maryland midfielder Ben Bender with the No. 1 overall selection in Tuesday's MLS SuperDraft.
Bender was first-team All-America in 2021 and the Big Ten midfielder of the year after scoring seven goals with five assists in 18 games for the Terrapins.
FC Cincinnati had the second pick in Tuesday's draft, selecting goalkeeper/forward Roman Celentano out of Indiana, while FC Dallas selected forward Isaiah Parker out of Saint Louis with the No. 3 pick. The Houston Dynamo selected forward Thorleifur Ulfarsson out of Duke with the No. 4 pick, while Austin FC picked defender Kipp Keller out of Saint Louis at No. 5.
Charlotte FC currently have 10 international players on its roster, with Bender giving the club some domestic talent with a budget-friendly general-allocation status.
Bender is the third Maryland product selected with the top pick in the MLS SuperDraft, joining Maurice Edu in 2007 by Toronto FC and Leo Cullen in 1998 by the Miami Fusion.
Charlotte FC will play their first ever MLS regular-season game on Feb. 26 at D.C. United. They will make their home debut in front of what is expected to be a crowd in excess of 70,000 at Bank of America Stadium on March 5 against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
--Field Level Media