This season has been a sharp uphill from last season for Columbus Crew SC, partly due to the new additions to the squad. In the offseason, head coach Gregg Berhalter added four central defenders to the roster form a year ago. As a result, Norwegian center back Nico Næss went from one of the first names on the team sheet to fighting for a spot. A battle, in the end, not won.
It was announced on Wednesday morning that Næss was sold to SC Heerenveen in the Netherlands as he was in search of first team soccer after a year in Columbus. To announce the finalization of his signing today, SC Herenveen have released an interview following his arrival photo shoot. And yes, the video is in English.
Næss joins a Heerenveen squad where he will compete for a starting role with young Dutch talent Kik Pierie, just 17 years of age. The club also announced today the sale of starting center back Joost van Aken as he makes way to play in England. The departure of van Aken presents a great opportunity for Næss to solidify himself in the backline next to first-choice center back Daniel Høegh.
Nico should feel welcome in the Dutch city as he joins two other Norwegian players on the roster, including Real Madrid loanee Martin Ødegaard. As mentioned in the video, it is also the former club of the Black & Gold’s Jukka Raitala. The break for international play should also give some quality time to settle in with the squad.
If you would like to follow Næss with his new club, SC Heerenveen resumes play on September 10 in one of their biggest matches of the season as the team welcomes PSV to Abe Lenstra Stadium.
And if you want to read more about his transfer and some quotes from Gregg Berhalter, check out Collin Johnson’s article on the transfer.