Just one day after Columbus Crew SC announced the trade of Michael Parkhurst to Atlanta United FC, the Black & Gold are set to add central defender.
Originally reported by the Washington Post’s Steven Goff, and now confirmed by Massive Report, Crew SC will sign Homegrown product Alex Crognale.
The 6-foot-5 center back grew up in the Columbus suburbs and graduated from Gahanna Lincoln High School, playing for the Lions for two years before taking part in the Crew Academy where he was rated the 16th-best defender in his class by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Following high school, Crognale elected to play collegiately at Maryland.
Crognale was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-American and All-Big Ten selection following his senior year. He was also named the Big Ten Tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player after guiding the Terps to a third-straight Big Ten Tournament title and fourth conference tournament championship overall.
As a senior captain, Crognale and Maryland went unbeaten (16-0-2) as he scored six goals, helping the Terps set school records with 15 consecutive wins and five consecutive shutouts.
While he is not a like-for-like replacement for Parkhurst, Crognale will help provide depth on a back line that will be without the team captain and the retired Tyson Wahl.
With the potential return of center-backs Nicolai Næss and Gaston Sauro, Crongale will have the chance to learn the professional game while also adjusting to head coach Gregg Berhalter’s system of play that often leaves central defenders on a island defensively.
Crognale will join midfielders Wil Trapp and Ben Swanson as Crew SC’s Homegrown players on the roster. He will also be reunited with his good friend, goalkeeper Zack Steffen.