Re-Entry pick Hohlbein adds depth to Crew D

Former KC player's experience important for rebuilding Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Crew hope they took a small step toward restocking the roster when they selected former Sporting Kansas City midfielder/defender Aaron Hohlbein in the first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Wednesday.

After jettisoning nine players so far in the offseason, coach Robert Warzycha thinks Hohlbein can add depth to the central defense.

“He’s a player – especially losing [Eric] Brunner in the Expansion Draft [to Portland] – that will give us competition in that position,” Warzycha said. “He has some experience. He can give us some cover.”

The 25-year-old Hohlbein had 43 appearances for Kansas City in four seasons. He made a career-high 22 starts in 2009 but had only one start in two matches for Sporting last season before being loaned to Miami FC, where he played 10 games for the second-division club. Kansas City opted not to renew Hohlbein’s contract for the 2011 season, sending the player into the Re-Entry Draft.

“It’s a new club and new expectations for him,” Warzycha said of Hohlbein’s arrival to Columbus. “He’s going to be in a different environment and hopefully will be better.”

Hohlbein, who played collegiately for Wisconsin from 2003 to '06, told Wisconsin Soccer Central last week that he is looking to set up trials in Sweden, Norway and Germany.

His father, Rainer, was born in Germany and his older brother, Jed, played there in the lower divisions. If Hohlbein rejects an offer from the Crew, the club will hold the right of first refusal for him in MLS.

The second stage of the Re-Entry Draft will take place on Dec. 15.

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