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Columbus Crew acquire U.S. national team defender Tony Sanneh as an allocation

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Columbus Crew interim general manager Mark McCullers and head coach Greg Andrulis announced Friday that the team has acquired U.S. national team veteran Tony Sanneh as an allocation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sanneh, who can play defender or midfielder, has played the past six years in Germany with FC Nurnberg (2001-04) and Hertha Berlin (1998-2001), including five of those seasons in the Bundesliga, one of the top leagues in the world. Prior to Germany, Sanneh spent three years with D.C. United (1996-98), and helped D.C. win two MLS Cups (1996 and 1997), scoring a goal in each championship game, including the game-winner in 1997. The former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee star also played professionally in the A-League and NPSL.

The St. Paul, Minn., native has appeared 40 times for the U.S. national team, including a stand out performance in the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. Sanneh started all five games for the U.S. in the World Cup and was one of only three players to play every minute. He assisted on what turned out to be Brian McBride's game-winner in the 3-2 opening game win over Portugal, and was named Man of the Match in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss to Germany in the quarterfinals. He has scored three goals and assisted on four since making his U.S. debut on January 9, 1997, vs. China. Sanneh scored his first goal on February 6, 1999, vs. Germany.

The 33-year-old Sanneh missed the 2003-04 season with a back injury but has since returned and appeared three times for the U.S. in 2004. He scored for the U.S. in a 4-0 win over Honduras on June 2.

The 6-2 Sanneh is a tall, strong and powerful player whose versatility allows him to patrol the right flank as a wide midfielder or a defender. His speed allows him to run by defenders in the open field and his size and leaping ability make him a threat on set pieces.

The team wasn't required to make any roster moves to accommodate Sanneh, and still has one allocation and one discovery option available.

"We are very happy to have Tony join us," said Andrulis. "He is an extremely talented player who will make our team better. I also want to thank Todd Durbin in the league office for helping us get through the process."

"I am very happy and excited to be back in the Midwest and America," said Sanneh. "It's great to come into an environment where there are a lot of positive things going on, not only on the field, but also in the community. I feel I can be a valuable addition to the team. Right now everything is going well with the team and I want to be able to give the team a late season spark if needed. And when we get to the playoffs I want to be able to lend my experience to help where it's needed."

TONY SANNEH

Position: Defender/Midfielder
Height: 6-2 (1.88 m)

Weight: 190 (88 kg)
Born: June 1, 1971, in St. Paul, Minnesota
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
College: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2004 Club: FC Nurnberg (German First Division)
Professional Experience: FC Nurnberg, German Bundesliga/First Division (2001-04); Hertha Berlin, German Bundesliga (1998-2001); D.C. United, MLS (1996-1998); Minnesota Thunder, A-League/D3 (1995-1996); Chicago Power, NPSL (1995); Milwaukee Rampage, A-League (1994)

Pronunciation: SAW-nay


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