COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WDVM) – The top pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft comes from the University of Maryland.

Terps sophomore midfielder Ben Bender was selected with the first overall pick of Tuesday’s draft by Charlotte FC.

“It’s such an honor to be the number one pick. I am just so beyond blessed to have this opportunity to go down to Charlotte. I’m so thankful for their belief in me,” Bender said. “I’m so thankful for my family who has really helped me to get to this point. I’ve had the benefit of so many great coaches along the way to to develop me as a player and develop me as a man.”

Bender was the unanimous Big Ten midfielder of the year in 2021 and was an All-Big Ten selection in both seasons with the Terps. He scored seven goals and earned five assists this past season with Maryland.

Bender now joins a long line of Terps at the professional level in soccer, he is the third first overall pick from Maryland in MLS SuperDraft history (Maurice Edu in 2007 and Leo Cullen in 1998.)