Pedro Santos will be the sixth Designated Player to ever play for Columbus Crew SC in Major League Soccer. After putting DP tags on players from Argentina, Peru, Sierra Leone and Ghana, the club went in a different direction by pursuing a European player for the role.
The 29-year-old Portuguese winger was acquired from S.C. Braga in a transaction that had the largest acquisition transfer fee in club history. But to make the deal happen, it was also necessary to convince Santos to leave Europe and start a new adventure in the United States.
“There’s always a sell,” Crew SC head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter said. “When guys are playing at that level, there’s always a sell to get him over here. For us it was demonstrating our style of play, demonstrating how we play the game, demonstrating how we like the game to be played, Columbus the city, what Columbus has to offer, he has a young family, it’s a very nice community for a family.
“MLS speaks for itself with all the international signings that have happened, all the high quality players that are coming into the league, people want to be part of that.”
According to Santos, though, Berhalter’s task was not that difficult since the Portuguese did not want to miss the opportunity of moving with his family to the U.S.
“I’ve always planned on playing overseas and when I had the opportunity to come to the United States I didn’t think twice about it,” Pedro said on Tuesday. “It’s a dream to be in this country and this is something my family will also enjoy as well.”
Pedro’s awareness about MLS and Crew SC, though, was not very high as the player acknowledged. However, the winger is confident that with hard work and patience, he will be able to adapt quickly and help the club in its hunt for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“I knew the league a little bit and also the Portuguese players who are here as well as some big Europeans who moved here recently,” he said. “Every day you hear more and more about MLS and people are talking about it with more frequency.
I didn’t know much about Crew SC, but once the negotiations started I researched about the city and the club. Obviously there is a difference and I am still getting acclimated, but if I am patient I will take to it sooner rather than later.”