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Columbus Crew sign Captain Darlington Nagbe to multiyear contract extension

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew have signed Captain and Midfielder Darlington Nagbe to a multiyear contract extension. A 13-year MLS veteran and three-time MLS Cup champion, Nagbe is guaranteed through the 2025 season with a Club option for 2026.  

“It’s hard to put into words what Darlington means to this club. He is a proven winner and difference-maker who has consistently shown why he is one of the most highly respected players in MLS for his leadership, character, and his performance on the pitch and how he carries himself off it,” said President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Darlington embodies the essence of a truly elite midfielder – smooth in possession with an uncanny ability to get out of very difficult situations on the field. He is revered by his teammates and opponents alike, and it was a priority for us to secure his long-term future in Columbus. We are excited that he and his family will remain members of the Crew and our city as we strive to win more championships.” 

“Playing in my home state the past four years and winning an MLS Cup with the Crew has been really special, and it’s a blessing to continue my career in Columbus, both for me and my family,” said Nagbe. “We have more work to do, but I’m excited about what we’ve accomplished together this season and the future direction of our club. I’m proud to represent the Black & Gold, alongside my great teammates, and I’m thankful for the ongoing support from the Haslam, Johnson and Edwards families, Tim Bezbatchenko, Wilfried Nancy, the entire Crew staff and of course, our fans.”

Darlington Nagbe | Contract Extension

Currently in his fourth season with the Black & Gold, Nagbe is one of only two players to contribute in all of the Crew’s 2023 MLS regular season (34) and postseason matches (three). He was named to MLS Team of the Matchday three times this year (Matchday 12, 23 and 34) and has recorded five goal contributions (four goals, one assist), highlighted by scoring from outside of the 18-yard box in the ninth minute of Columbus’ 4-2 Audi 2023 MLS Playoffs Round One series-clinching win against Atlanta United FC on Sunday at Field.  

One of the league’s most respected midfielders, Nagbe has appeared in 386 regular season matches with 371 starts, which rank ninth and tied for sixth in MLS history, respectively. He has logged 38 career goals and 45 assists while showing his resiliency and tactical awareness as the player who has sustained the second-most fouls in league annals (710). Nagbe has started each of his 26 postseason games played, tallying three goals and two assists, and has won an MLS Cup with all three of his clubs, most recently during the Crew’s 2020 championship campaign.  

The Crew captain joined the Black & Gold via trade with Atlanta United on Nov. 13, 2019. He has appeared in 116 regular season games since joining the Club, posting nine goals and eight assists. During his four seasons in Columbus, Nagbe captured the 2020 MLS Cup and MLS Goal of the Year (2020), 2021 Campeones Cup and 2022 MLS All-Star Game honors, and was a finalist for the 2023 Audi Drives Progress Impact Award presented by MLS WORKS for his contributions to the community.

Nagbe started his professional career with the Portland Timbers in 2011 as the second overall selection in the MLS SuperDraft. In his rookie season, he scored two goals and added three assists in 28 matches, including the 2011 AT&T MLS Goal of the Year

A member of the Portland side that won the MLS Cup and the MLS Western Conference Championship in 2015, Nagbe contributed in 214 regular season matches (203 starts) with the Timbers, registering 27 goals and 30 assists. With Portland, he earned the Timbers’ Players’ Player of the Year in 2013; two MLS Fair Play Awards (2013, 2015); and an MLS All-Star Game selection in 2016. 

With Atlanta United from 2018-2019, Nagbe made 56 regular season appearances (55 starts), notching two goals and seven assists. He helped Atlanta win its first four trophies in club history: the 2018 MLS Cup, the 2018 MLS Eastern Conference Championship, the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2019 Campeones Cup.  

Nagbe has earned 25 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, registering one goal and two assists since his debut in a World Cup Qualifier against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2015 (November 13). He scored his first goal for the USMNT in a 2016 friendly against Ecuador (May 25), a game-winner in the 90th minute of the contest. Later that year, the midfielder helped the U.S. squad finish fourth at the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Nagbe also helped the U.S. win the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, making three appearances (all starts) en route to being named to the tournament’s Best XI. 

With Akron from 2008-2010, Nagbe recorded 19 goals and 19 assists in 73 appearances and led the program to its first NCAA Division I Men's Soccer championship in 2010, as well as three consecutive Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament titles (2008, 2009 and 2010). The midfielder’s collegiate accolades include the Hermann Trophy in 2010 – the nation’s highest individual honor recognizing the National Player of the Year as determined by the voting of Division I coaches who are members of United Soccer Coaches – National Soccer Coaches Association of America Player of the Year (2010); MAC Player of the Year (2010); MAC Newcomer of the Year (2008); NSCAA All-America First Team (2010) and Second Team (2009) honors; and three All-MAC First-Team selections (2008, 2009 and 2010). 

TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew signs midfielder Darlington Nagbe to a multiyear contract extension, announced on Nov. 17, 2023. Nagbe is guaranteed through the 2025 season with a Club option for 2026.


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