Minnesota United brought in reinforcements to their goalkeeper pool. The team has added MLS/NASL veteran goalkeeper Steward Ceus, most recently seen with the late Atlanta Silverbacks. The deal is for the rest of the 2016 season with a club option for 2017. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed, per club and USSF policies.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Ceus said after the team’s training on Wednesday. “This is an organization that keeps it very professional with their day-to-day operation. There’s a lot of quality on this team and I’m happy to have impressed in my trial this spring and earned a spot here.”
Steward Ceus, 29, is no stranger to the top two American leagues. Ceus was a third round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, taken four slots ahead of future United teammate Danny Cruz. (Other third round picks that year include Mike Grella and Quincy Amarikwa – not a bad round!) From 2009-2013, he was rated as a solid prospect for the Colorado Rapids, spending the first two years on loan with the USL-Second Division’s Charlotte Eagles. After getting a few starts in 2013, he was eventually replaced with future MLS All-Star Clint Irwin and was released after the season. He spent 2014 in Finland with Narpes Kraft Fotbollsforening and 2015 making 22 starts for the late Atlanta Silverbacks.
Ceus helped keep the Silverbacks in many games, guarding the net to the tune of a 1.32 Goals Allowed Average, which ranked fifth for keepers who started at least 15 matches in 2015. He also averaged 3.1 saves per game. His five clean sheets ranked behind league stalwarts Romauld Peiser, Jimmy Maurer, Sammy Ndjock, Matt Pickens, and Matt Van Oekel. For comparison’s sake, current Minnesota keeper Kristian Nicht had a GAA of 1.60, made 2.75 saves per game, and posted two clean sheets for Indy Eleven.
Ceus also has become a regular contributor to the Haitian Men’s National Team. To date, he has eight caps with the senior side, boasting a 5-1-2 record with four clean sheets. “The international game is the pinnacle for a lot of players. The opportunity to play in the World Cup or big tournaments like the Copa America or the Gold Cup gives you chances to represent a country. Kids dream of this when they play in the street. For me, representing Haiti, I represent a country which has a lot of struggles. Playing gives us a chance to give Haitians a day to keep their mind off of life, poverty, the struggles they face. It’s a rewarding experience any way you look at it.”
Recently, Ceus made a few crucial stops in the Copa America play-in game against Trinidad and Tobago to keep a clean sheet and give his team a berth in the tournament this summer. ”It was a big game, no other way to say it. There was a lot riding on it. The country needed a win to get to the Copa and be a part of such a major tournament. For a lot of guys in the squad, it was the biggest game of our lives.” This week he was announced to be in the short-list for the nation’s squad, and is rumored to be a front-runner to start their first match against Peru.
As far as his keeping style, Ceus is a fantastic athlete. Standing in at 6’6, Ceus uses his large physical stature to great effect, thanks also in part to quick reflexes and a large wingspan/vertical combination. He also has a good eye for stopping penalty kicks and setting up walls for free-kicks. Projecting to immediately fill the second-slot on the depth chart, Ceus would serve as a capable security net if Sammy Ndjock ever misses extended action due to injury or international duty.
As of Wednesday morning, both Kristian Nicht and Aaron Perez were still on the field taking reps in training. The team told Northern Pitch that they plan to keep all four on the roster and none of them will be bought out. However, sources have confirmed that the team is attempting to loan Nicht out and want to field three keepers for the rest of the season.