COLUMBUS, Ohio - Columbus Crew interim general manager Mark McCullers and Crew head coach Greg Andrulis announced Friday that forward Dante Washington has signed a multi-year contract with Major League Soccer and will rejoin the Crew, the team who last held his rights.
Washington did not re-sign with MLS after the 2002 season and played the last two years with Virginia Beach in the A-League. The Crew had a roster spot available after Stephen Herdsman was placed on season-ending injury status.
Washington will be a welcome addition to Columbus in his third stint with the Black & Gold. A fan favorite, Washington led the A-League in scoring this past season with 40 points on 17 goals and six assists. His 17 goals were tied for the league lead as he was one of three finalists for A-League MVP and was a first-team A-League selection. Washington finished second in the A-League in scoring in 2003 with 37 points (18 goals, 1 assist). In two years in the A-League he tallied 35 goals and seven assists (77 pts.) in 53 games.
"I am excited to be back," said Washington. "The team is doing really well and it will be fun to be a part of it. Everyone knows what type of player I am and I just want to come in and compete and offer another type of option. I just want to do my job if called upon."
Washington will join the Crew in Columbus Oct. 12. In his three-plus years with Columbus (1996, 2000-02), Washington tallied 28 goals and 14 assists for 70 points. He also had four goals and an assist in the playoffs and a goal in the U.S. Open Cup. His all-time MLS totals, which include four seasons in Dallas (1996-1999), are 52 goals and 29 assists (133 points) in 160 games played (111 starts). He also totaled five goals and one assist in the playoffs.
"We are extremely happy to have Dante back," said Andrulis. "Having him available for the stretch run will only make our team better. He gives us even more depth and another attacking option up front."
The Crew remain on the road this weekend, when they travel to Giants Stadium to face the MetroStars on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Columbus wraps up the regular season on Oct. 16, against Colorado at 9 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised on UPN Columbus.