The Columbus Crew's roster for 2014 is quickly taking shape under new head coach Gregg Berhalter, as the club announced Tuesday that it has added two new players and re-signed defender Josh Williams.
The most notable addition is that of Costa Rican full back Waylon Francis (above, right), who joins from Herediano in his home country after a series of impressive displays in the CONCACAF Champions League put him on the MLS radar. The Crew also added Homegrown defender Matt Wiet, who becomes the sixth such signing in team history.
“This is exciting news for the club and all three players are strong additions to the team,” Crew sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a club statement. “Josh is a player with experience and a lot of potential, and we’re excited to have him re-join the club knowing that he can develop into a high-level MLS player.
“Waylon and Matt also have bright futures. Waylon is an outstanding left back and one of the best in the Costa Rican league, and he’s going to help on the left side of our defense. Matt is a talented young player from our youth development system that we look forward to working with soon.”
Williams returns to the Crew having locked down a starting position on the backline over the past two years. Undrafted in 2010, Williams signed for the Crew in September of that year, but failed to register an apperance until the 2012 season. Since then, though, he has appeared in 57 games for the Crew, including 52 starts, scoring four goals and adding three assists.
Francis, 23, is an attack-minded left back and was a key cog in Herediano's last two CCL campaigns, making nine appearances and earning his first Costa Rican national team cap in January 2013. The signing comes a month and a half after the Crew's interest in Francis was first reported.
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Wiet, also 23, is a Columbus native who played collegiately for a year at Indiana University before transferring to UCLA for his final three years of college. He spent the 2013 season with the nearby Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL PRO, where he started four games.
The moves come just four days after Columbus parted ways with six players, including Costa Rican international Jairo Arrieta and longtime Crew stalwart Danny O'Rourke.