COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew today announced roster decisions following the 2021 Major League Soccer season. The Club exercised the contract options on nine players, while nine players were already under contract for 2022. The updated roster currently stands at 18 players for the Black & Gold.
“Every year our goal is to qualify for the playoffs and contend for championships,” said Columbus Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “While we did not make the playoffs this year, the team finished the season on a strong note. We have a solid core of players around whom we can build on, and we are excited to welcome them back next season. Pre-season is right around the corner and the work has already begun to prepare for improved results in the 2022 season.”
The Crew exercised the options of defenders Aboubacar Keita, Steven Moreira and Josh Williams; midfielders Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne Jr., Marlon Hairston and Isaiah Parente; and forwards Miguel Berry and Gyasi Zardes.
Goalkeeper Eloy Room, defender Milton Valenzuela and midfielder Pedro Santos, all have expiring 2021 contracts with the Club extending offers to the trio to remain in Black & Gold ahead of 2022. Additional updates will be provided in the coming days and weeks.
Defender Jonathan Mensah, along with midfielders Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Perry Kitchen, Alex Matan, Kevin Molino, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan were already under contract for the 2022 season.
The Club is currently in additional discussions with select players about returning in 2022. Goalkeeper Evan Bush, and defenders Harrison Afful and Grant Lillard are out of contract. The Crew declined the contract options of goalkeeper Eric Dick; defenders Waylon Francis, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Vito Wormgoor; and forwards Erik Hurtado and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Midfielder Liam Fraser has returned to Toronto FC following his season-long loan with the Crew.
The Black & Gold finished the season with a 7-2-2 record over their last 11 matches across all competitions, while outscoring opponents 21-12 over that span. Additionally, the Crew went 2-1-1 in Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League play and won the 2021 Campeones Cup defeating Cruz Azul 2-0 (September 29).
The MLS Half-Day Trade Window opens on Sunday, December 12 at 9:00 a.m. ET and closes later that day at 1:00 p.m. ET when a blackout period begins. During the blackout period, clubs may not sign or trade players until the conclusion of the Expansion Draft, which is set to be held on Tuesday, December 14. MLS will release the list of players available for selection in the Expansion Draft on Monday, December 13.
The End-of-Year Waivers is scheduled for Wednesday, December 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET, with Free Agency also beginning on that day at 1:00 p.m. ET. Finally, the MLS Re-Entry Process begins with Stage 1 on Friday, December 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET, while Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Process is set to take place on Thursday, December 23 at 1:00 p.m. ET. A full list of players eligible for Free Agency, End-of-Year Waivers and the Re-Entry Process, Stage 1 will be announced by the League on Monday, December 13. The list of players eligible for the Re-Entry Process, Stage 2 will be announced on Thursday December 23.
The Black & Gold are set to open the 2022 MLS season by hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Lower.com Field on Saturday, February 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Crew is now accepting Nine-Match Ticket Plan deposits. For as little as $100, fans will have limited game selection flexibility, access to pre-sales and more. Supporters interested in securing Season Ticket Memberships or placing deposits for Nine-Match Plans for the 2022 MLS season can call 614-447-2739, visit www.columbuscrew.com/tickets/memberships or email email@example.com to get connected with a Season Ticket Member representative.