COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew today announced roster decisions following the 2022 Major League Soccer season. The Club exercised the contract options on eight players, while 15 players were already under contract for 2023.
The updated roster currently stands at 23 players for the Black & Gold, and is listed alphabetically by position below:
Goalkeepers (4): Evan Bush, Eloy Room, Patrick Schulte, Brady Scott
Defenders (7): Milos Degenek, Mo Farsi, Jonathan Mensah, Steven Moreira, Jake Morris, Will Sands, Josh Williams
Midfielders (10): Artur, Luis Diaz, Kevin Molino, Alex Matan, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Yaw Yeboah, Sean Zawadzki, Lucas Zelarayan
Forwards (2): Cucho Hernandez, Jacen Russell-Rowe
“We have a talented group of players on this roster who can contribute as we build towards a successful 2023 season,” said Columbus Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “As we continue the search for our next head coach, we believe we have a solid core and a good blend of players for the incoming coaching staff to work with, from the veteran leaders who have experience winning championships, and talented young players who have shown this season that they can make a difference on the field. We are excited to welcome this group back for 2023 and look forward to the start of preseason in early January.”
The Crew exercised the options of goalkeepers Evan Bush and Brady Scott; defenders Jonathan Mensah and Steven Moreira; and midfielders Artur, Luis Diaz, Darlington Nagbe and Isaiah Parente.
Goalkeepers Eloy Room and Patrick Schulte; defenders Milos Degenek, Mo Farsi, Jake Morris, Will Sands and Josh Williams; midfielders Kevin Molino, Alex Matan, Aidan Morris, Yaw Yeboah, Sean Zawadzki and Lucas Zelarayan; and forwards Cucho Hernandez and Jacen Russell-Rowe were already under contract for the 2023 season.
Matan has been on loan to Romanian side Rapid Bucuresti since August. Rapid hold an option to permanently transfer Matan at the end of the loan period, which expires Dec. 31.
The Crew declined the contract options of defenders Jalil Anibaba and Pedro Santos, midfielder James Igbekeme, and forward Erik Hurtado. Defender Marlon Hairston and midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr. are out of contract. The Club is currently in additional discussions with select players about returning in 2023. The deadline for options to be exercised is Nov. 14 at noon ET.
Anibaba, Etienne Jr., Hairston, Hurtado and Santos will be eligible for MLS Free Agency. Igbekeme’s loan deal will expire on Dec. 31, 2022.
Midfielder Perry Kitchen is retiring following a professional career that began when he was selected in the first round (third overall) of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Kitchen appeared in more than 200 MLS matches for D.C. United, LA Galaxy and the Crew, and he additionally spent time in Europe, plying his trade with Heart of Midlothian (Scotland) and Randers FC (Denmark). Born in Indianapolis, Kitchen captained the United States in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria and earned five caps for the senior national team.
The MLS Trade Window opens on Monday, Nov. 7 at noon ET and closes on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at noon 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 Friday, Nov. 11. MLS will release the list of players available for selection in the Expansion Draft on Thursday, Nov. 10.
Free Agency is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Eligible players will be at least 24 years old in the year in which the immediately preceding League Season concluded and have at least five MLS service years. Thursday, Nov. 17 will be the start of the MLS Re-Entry Process with Stage 1 taking place at 1 p.m. ET, with the End-of-Year Waivers taking place at 5 p.m. ET. The MLS Re-Entry Process will conclude with Stage 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. ET.
The full calendar of MLS offseason roster building events can be found here.