Columbus Crew SC added a pair of young midfielders on Wednesday, signing midfielder Abuchi Obinwa and permanently acquiring midfielder Cristian Martinez (above, left) via transfer following his initial loan to Columbus from Panamanian club Chorillo FC in 2016.
“We are excited to work with Abuchi and Cristian this year as they continue to develop as young players with potential,” Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement released by the club. “We look forward to tracking their progress in their first preseason camps with us.”
A Columbus native, Obinwa joins the team having last played for the Under-19 squad of German club Hannover 96. Prior to signing with the Bundesliga side in January 2015, Obinwa spent time with Chicago Magic PSG, an affiliate club of French side Paris St. Germain.
The 19-year-old midfielder has experience in the US youth national team setup, having played with the US U-18s in 2014 and the US U-20s in 2015.
Martinez, 19, initially joined Crew SC on loan last May from Chorillo. He made five appearances and two starts for Columbus in the regular season, scoring in his MLS debut on June 1 against Philadelphia. He made seven appearances for Crew SC across all competitions, and played in eight additional matches while on loan to the USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Martinez made his pro debut with Chorillo in Panama’s top flight at the age of 15. He’s been capped twice by the Panamanian national team, making his debut with Los Canaleros in a 1-0 win against El Salvador last February.
Crew SC are currently in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for its first preseason camp. The club will return to Ohio on Feb. 9 and will eventually travel to Charleston, S.C. for the Carolina Challenge Cup preseason tournament.