Columbus Crew SC announced on Thursday afternoon that the club had signed Jon Busch to a one-day contract. Before you panic, the veteran goalkeeper will not replace Zack Steffen in goal. The move was done to allow Busch to retire as a member of the Black & Gold, the team that drafted him into Major League Soccer.
Busch had a long and successful professional career that began in 1997 after he was drafted out of UNC Charlotte by the Nashville Metros of the A-League — the United States’ second division at the time. He bounced around the league before having a breakout season with the Hershey Wildcats in 2001, where he posted 13 shutouts.
This got the attention of Major League Soccer clubs and Busch was drafted by Crew SC 23rd overall in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft.
In his first year with the club, Busch split time with returning starting goalkeeper Tom Presthus, appearing 14 times with 13 starts. Returning as the starter in 2003, Busch and Columbus struggled, finishing bottom of the Eastern Conference. The team returned stronger the following year, winning the East with Busch as a major catalyst.
Busch’s career with Crew SC came to an end in 2006 following back-to-back season-ending knee injuries. He went on to play for the Chicago Fire from 2007-09 and the San Jose Earthquakes from 2010-14 before returning to the Fire for the 2015 season.
In total, Busch played for Crew SC 91 total times winning the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2004 Supporters’ Shield. A winner of the 2008 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, Busch made a total of 309 regular-season appearances (308 starts) in MLS from 2002-2015 and earned one cap with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
All-time, Busch retires among the top MLS goalkeepers in MLS history. He finishes in the top five in a number of several significant goalkeeper statistical categories including fourth in regular-season appearances (309), fourth in minutes (27,725), third in shots faced (1577). fourth in saves (1151), fifth in wins (113) and fourth in shutouts (83).
“I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to retire as a Crew SC player,” Busch said in the press release. “I have played for three fantastic clubs, but Columbus has always been our home. So, it is only fitting that my career ends where it began.”
Busch will be recognized at the beginning of halftime at Saturday’s Crew SC match when the Black & Gold take on the Chicago Fire at MAPFRE Stadium