New Zealand international defender/midfielder Duncan Oughton signed a multiyear contract Wednesday with the Columbus Crew. The 27-year-old explored some European options this offseason, but he decided to continue his career with a fifth season in Columbus.
"I am very excited to sign a new contract and to come back to the Crew," said Oughton. "Europe was a place I was looking and my agent had a few trials set up, but when I really thought about it, there was just too much unfinished business here in a place where the organization, the fans and my teammates have been so good to me. Columbus needs an MLS championship and I want to be a part of that."
Oughton is a versatile player capable of playing in a number of positions both in defense and midfield, both in a wide role as well as centrally. This versatility helped the Cal State-Fullerton product have his busiest season for the Crew in 2004, appearing in 28 regular-season matches (21 starts). He posted two goals and one assist on the season, including the only goal for the Crew in their season finale, a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids that gave Columbus its first-ever MLS Supporters' Shield trophy.
"Duncan is very deserving of this new contract," said Crew head coach Greg Andrulis. "He is a valuable asset to the organization and was a very important piece of our lineup this past season. His versatility and ability to play multiple positions is a tremendous benefit to our team."
Oughton has spent his entire MLS career in Columbus after the club drafted him 10th overall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft. He was named the Crew's Huntington Man of the Year in 2004, awarded to the player who embodies an exceptional sense of leadership, civic pride, family values and community service. He also played in 20 matches during his rookie season and matched that in his sophomore campaign.
The Wellington, New Zealand, native has represented his country at both the U-23 and full international levels.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.