COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew 2 announced today roster decisions following the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season. The 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Cup and back-to-back Eastern Conference champions exercised the contract option of Midfielder Jordan Knight while six players – Goalkeeper Stas Lapkes; Defenders Diego Almeida and Ariel Mbumba; Midfielders Taha Habroune and Cole Mrowka; and Forward Gibran Rayo – were already under contract for 2024.
“Our team – as a collective and as individual players – experienced tremendous growth throughout the 2023 season, highlighted by the opportunity to compete in our second MLS NEXT Pro Cup,” said Crew 2 General Manager Corey Wray. “We are always focused on developing talent and creating an environment to help players reach their full potential, and we are proud of the success we had in that area this year as a result of the coaches’, players’ and Club’s efforts.
“Post-season roster decisions are always difficult, but we recognize each year presents a new opportunity to evaluate our approach and personnel to benefit the Club and our players in the short and long term.
“We are encouraged by the talent and progression of our returning players and academy prospects who are continuing their journeys with us in 2024, and we thank and wish the best to the individuals who are moving to the next stage in their careers for their commitment and contributions. Our more experienced players provided quality play, as well as set an example for our younger athletes, and we could not have reached back-to-back MLS NEXT Pro Cups without this group.
“On behalf of the entire Club, including Tim Bezbatchenko and Laurent Courtois, we thank all our players for their dedication to Crew 2 the past two seasons, including the departing athletes who will forever be Black & Gold champions.”
Crew 2 declined the contract options on Defenders Stuart Ritchie, Clay Holstad and Xavier Zengue; Midfielders Aidan Wolf and Nana Tuffour; and Forward Zion Scarlett.
Contracts for Defenders Jacob Erlandson and Abdi Mohamed; Midfielders Marco Micaletto and Coleman Gannon; and Forward Noah Fuson concluded following the 2023 season.
The Club is in continued negotiations with Defender Xavier Zengue and Midfielders Thomas Roberts, Coleman Gannon, and Patrick Bohui.
The 2024 season schedule and ticketing information will be released in the coming months.
Current Crew 2 roster (listed alphabetically by position):
Goalkeepers (1): Stas Lapkes
Defenders (2): Diego Almeida, Ariel Mbumba
Midfielders (3): Taha Habroune, Cole Mrowka, Jordan Knight
Forwards (1): Gibran Rayo