COLUMBUS – As part of the Columbus Crew’s ongoing commitment to youth soccer in Ohio, the Club, highlighted by Captain and Midfielder Darlington Nagbe, is hosting a Pro Player Series event at the Browns facility in Berea on Saturday, Sept. 9, its first youth soccer programming held in Northeast Ohio.
Nagbe – a Lakewood native who is a three-time MLS Cup Champion (2015, 2018 and 2020) and two-time MLS All-Star selection (2016 and 2022) – will join more than 100 boys and girls youth soccer players (ages 6-14) during two training sessions from 5-6:30 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. in the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus’ fieldhouse in Berea.
Registration is currently open. The $75 enrollment fee encompasses on-pitch drills and friendly competition, plus a photo and autograph opportunity with Nagbe. Participants will also receive a Pro Player Series t-shirt.
“It’s incredibly special to bring together my two homes of Columbus and Northeast Ohio through the Crew’s Pro Player Series, especially since it gives me an opportunity to interact with youth who love and are learning the game,” said Nagbe. “Soccer has always been an important part of my personal and professional life, and I’m blessed to be in a position to give back to the next generation of players.”
“Crew Youth is focused on teaching soccer skills and most importantly inspiring a love of the beautiful game for players of all ages and abilities,” said Director of Team Strategic Partnerships & Business Development Dante Washington, a Crew alumnus (1996, 2000-2005). “We have received exceptional feedback from our Pro Player Series and all the youth programs in Columbus, and we are excited about extending those offerings to young athletes in Northeast Ohio.
The Crew Youth Pro Player Series was created in 2023 to provide the next generation of footballers with a new avenue to further develop their skills and love of the beautiful game, as well as interact with their favorite Crew players.
Since joining the Crew in 2020, Nagbe has appeared in 107 MLS matches (105 starts), registering eight goals and eight assists. In addition to leading the Black & Gold to the 2020 MLS Cup championship, he was honored with MLS Goal of the Year in 2020 and earned a selection to the 2022 MLS All-Star Game.
During his career, Nagbe has played in 377 MLS games (363 starts) and logged 37 goals and 45 assists. He was a member of Atlanta United squads that claimed the 2018 MLS Cup, 2019 Campeones Cup and 2019 US Open Cup, as well as the Portland side that lifted the 2015 MLS Cup. Nagbe has also twice been named the league’s Fair Play Award recipient (2013 and 2015), given to the player who presented best overall sportsmanlike behavior in addition to receiving one of the lowest numbers of yellow and red cards, fouls and disciplinary violations.
In international competition, Nagbe helped the U.S. Men’s National Team win the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, when he received Best XI recognition for his efforts. He has 25 caps with the USMNT, notching one goal and two assists.
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).
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