Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has signed defender Nicolai Naess (pronounced: NESS). With experience as a centerback, Naess joins Columbus from Stabaek in the topflight Norwegian Tippeligaen. Targeted Allocation Money was used to acquire Naess, who will be added to Crew SC's active roster following receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa. Naess will occupy an international roster slot as a Discovery Signing for the Black & Gold.
A native of Oslo, Norway, the 23-year-old has made 74 topflight Tippeligaen appearances since his professional debut in 2012 and has also played in two Europa League qualification matches.
“Nicolai is a young, talented defender that brings a significant amount of experience from the topflight in Norway,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “We believe he can make an immediate impact for the club and we look forward to integrating him into our system.”
Naess began his professional career with Norwegian topflight side Vålerenga in 2012, where he made five appearances as a 19-year-old. He moved to Stabaek to start the 2013 season and immediately helped the team clinch promotion to the Tippeligaen with a second-place finish after making 21 appearances (12 starts).
Back in the topflight to start the 2014 campaign, Naess scored his first professional goal in the season-opener that year against Sogndal on March 30. He also helped Stabaek reach the Norwegian Cup semifinals. The following season, in 2015, he made a career-best 29 appearances, scoring his second professional goal on August 16, 2015 against Lilleström SK and adding his first professional assist two weeks later against Odds BK. He again helped Stabaek to a Semifinal run in the Norwegian Cup, playing in five matches and scoring in the semifinals against Rosenborg BK.
Following a third place Tippeligaen finish in 2015, Stabaek advanced to the 2016-17 Europa League first qualifying round. Naess started each of those matches, on June 30, 2016 and July 7, 2016, both against Welsh side Connah's Quay Nomads.
Crew SC concludes a three-match Major League Soccer homestand on Saturday, July 23 when Orlando City SC visits Central Ohio (7:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC signed defender Nicolai Naess on July 21, 2016. He will be added to the Black & Gold’s active roster following receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa and will occupy an international roster slot as a Discovery Signing.
Name: Nicolai Naess (pronounced: NESS)
Born: January 18, 1993 in Oslo, Norway
Hometown: Oslo, Norway
Acquired: Columbus Crew SC signed defender Nicolai Naess on July 21, 2016. He will be added to the Black & Gold’s active roster following receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa and will occupy an international roster slot as a Discovery Signing.
Previous Experience: Stabaek (2013-2016), Vålerenga (2012)