It's been very quiet in the Crew front office over the holidays, but the team broke their silence with the announcement that they've added defender Ross Friedman and midfielder Matt Walker. The Crew now have seven homegrown players on the roster.
Walker had an illustrious career with the Crew Juniors. He was named the Crew Soccer Academy's U-20 Player of the Year in 2011, won the Super-20 national title as a member of the Super-20 the same year, and won the U-19 McGuire Cup in 2012.
Walker also played four years for Xavier University, often as the team's creative spark. He scored 26 goals and notched 24 assists during his time with the Musketeers. Gregg Berhalter highlighted Walker's strengths in a team release, "Matt Walker is a dynamic player that has the ability to turn in tight spaces and take players on one-on-one".
Friedman, a right back, played on the 2011 Super-20 with Walker that won the national championship before moving on to Harvard University for four years, scoring two goals and 17 assists. His best season was his senior season. He started all 17 games with the Crimson, leading the team with 10 assists as he played both on defense and the wing.
Friedman also was on of the key members of Team USA during the 2013 Maccabiah Games, leading the team in assists and scoring in the penalty shootout to defeat Argentina in the finals.
Neither Walker or Friedman are expected to be starters. The esteemed college soccer site Top Drawer Soccer rated Walker as the 54th best MLS prospect and Friedman 97th. They are likely to fill out squad depth.
The duo are the sixth and seventh Home Grown players on the Crew roster. That is tied for the most in MLS with F.C. Dallas. Chad Barson, Matt Lampson, Ben Speas, and Wil Trapp have all seen action with the first team with Trapp being the standout. Matt Wiet signed earlier in the offseason after an excellent career at UCLA.
The team continues to fill out the roster. The Crew now has 27 players under contract, but the Crew still has a hole in central defense since trading Chad Marshall and Berhalter has said he wants another scorer to round out the squad. The MLS Draft is just over a week away and training camp opens a week later.