Columbus Crew forward Federico Higuain begins green-card process

Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – When the Columbus Crew expressed an interest in the offseason in having Federico Higuaín obtain a green card, the Argentine forward was happy to oblige.

"The team manifested the interest in me starting the process," Higuaín told MLSsoccer.com this week through a team translator. "For me, it's a great gesture by the team and there's no reason not to help the team, especially with the limited spots we have for foreigners."

That doesn't suggest any roster movement, however, according to Crew technical director Brian Bliss.

"We're not pursuing anybody at the moment," Bliss said. "But it's nice to know that down the road, when we do need to go out and get someone, hopefully he won't be counting against our number."

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Higuaín, who signed as the Crew's third Designated Player in history on July 27 and went on to become MLS Newcomer of the Year, said applying for a green card is a way to show his appreciation for how he, his wife and two young children have been treated in Columbus.

"I'm a family man," he said. "I spend a lot of time with them in my house and with that lifestyle I really enjoy the peace that comes with living in Columbus. It's an open city where everybody is respectful. There's a lot of green area where you can lead a peaceful life that everyone desires."

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In turn, Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha, a naturalized US citizen from Poland, is happy that Higuaín desires a green card.

"It's the right thing for him to do," he said. "It shows he wants to stay here and play."

Higuaín, 28, isn't sure if getting the card will lead to him one day seeking American citizenship, a process that often can take at least five years.

"I'm very happy here playing with the team," he said. "I haven't really thought about that but when the moment comes and I continue to stay happy with the team it will be something to think about whether it's appropriate."