Crew Youth Update: January 10

CSA alums help Black & Gold match MLS Homegrown Player record

COLUMBUS – Crew Soccer Academy alumni Ross Friedman and Matt Walker signed Homegrown Player contracts with the Crew earlier this week, giving the Black & Gold a share of the League lead in active Homegrown Players on a Major League Soccer Roster.

The Academy’s Under-16 and Under-18 sides participated in December’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, held in Sarasota, Florida. The squads went a combined 1-3-2 in front of more than 300 college coaches. At the showcase, four Development Academy select rosters made up of elite Academy players – including two for U-15/16 and two for U-17/18 – competed against each other.  Crew Soccer Academy had one player in each age group with Devyn Etling as a forward for the U-15/16 age group and Ben Swanson as a midfielder in the U-17/18 age group. 

Also held at the showcase, the Crew Soccer Academy was represented at the Nike Friendlies, a four-team friendly event this year featuring the United States, Brazil, Portugal and England. The U.S won the event for the second time in three years. Crew Soccer Academy’s very own George Braima -- currently in Bradenton, Florida with the U-17 National Team Residency Program – was a part of the successful event. 

“At the halfway point in our CSA seasons, we have a lot to build on and be encouraged about heading into the spring across all three levels, at U-13/14, U-15/16 and U-17/18,” said Andrew Arthurs, Crew Senior Vice President of Soccer Business Development and Executive Director of Crew Juniors. “After a well-deserved break for the holidays, we are all very excited to get the teams together again to prepare for a great 2014.”

On the alumni front, Crew Soccer Academy products Alex Crognale (Maryland, pictured above) and Connor Klekota (Notre Dame) squared-off on December 15 with the Fighting Irish taking home the title. Crew Soccer Academy had players in previous finals in 2009 (Chad Barson, Ben Speas on Akron ), 2010 (Chad Barson and Ben Speas on Akron) and 2011 (Ben Speas on UNC). Additionally, at least 20 Crew Youth alumni players received national recognition for academic excellence.

“We are really proud the more than 130 Crew Youth players – both boys and girls – that we have helped to reach the collegiate levels over the past six years,” continued Arthurs. “To see a few of them continue to land on the biggest stages each year is terrific. We look forward to watching all of our alums continue to have success in future years.”