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Crew signs center back Vito Wormgoor

The Black & Gold add a veteran defender to its roster

Sogndal v Brann: Eliteserien Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images

Columbus Crew SC signed veteran center back Vito Wormgoor the club announced on Wednesday afternoon. Sources tell Massive Report that Wormgoor was acquired on a free transfer.

“We are excited to have Vito join Columbus Crew SC,” Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “Vito is a talented and seasoned veteran who has made over 300 appearances in multiple professional European leagues. We believe that his leadership will be a great asset to our team and look forward to seeing his impact on the field.”

Wormgoor, who was linked with the club throughout the offseason, brings 12 years of European club experience after making 315 professional appearances in various European leagues.

Wormgoor last played with SK Brann of Eliteserien, Norway’s top professional league. After joining Brann in 2017, Wormgoor made 82 appearances for the club, helping the team finish in third place in 2018 thanks in large part to a defense that allowed only 31 goals in 30 league games, second-best in the Eliteserien. He also featured twice, both starts, in the Europa League Qualifiers for Brann against Slovakian side Ruzomberok. The 6-foot-2 center back scored 11 goals and registered four assists in his three seasons in Bergen, including a career-high five during the 2019 season.

Prior to joining Brann, Wormgoor played one season for Aalesunds Fotballklubb in Norway’s first division where he made 11 appearances, 10 starts. From 2012-16, the defender was a key piece for ADO Den Haag of the Dutch Eredivisie. Wormgoor made 114 appearances, 111 starts, for ADO over four seasons.

Wormgoor began his professional career with multiple youth clubs before signing as a youth player with Ajax of the Eredivisie. He moved to fellow Dutch side FC Utrecht where he made his senior debut and played nine games, all starts. In 2009, Wormgoor moved to De Graafschap and helped the team earn promotion from the Eerste Divisie to the Eredivisie by winning the league in his first season. Throughout his three years in Doetinchem, Netherlands, Wormgoor made 93 appearances, 92 starts, with three goals and three assists.

In joining the Black & Gold, Wormgoor brings experience to a backline that allowed 47 goals in 38 games in 2018. The defender was a captain of Brann for the last three seasons, showcasing his leadership abilities.

Wormgoor is expected to step in the middle of Columbus’ defense alongside Jonathan Mensah at center back and give the Crew stability at a position that used six different players a year ago. Wormgoor will provide another steady presence defensively and help the team see out games, something that was an issue at times last season.

2020 Crew roster:

Goalkeepers (3): Jon Kempin, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room

Defenders (10): Harrison Afful, Chris Cadden, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez, Aboubacar Keita, Jonathan Mensah, Axel Sjoberg, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wormgoor

Midfielders (7): Artur, Luis Diaz, Youness Mokhtar, Darlington Nagbe, Pedro Santos, Wil Trapp

Forwards (2): Jordan Hamilton, JJ Williams, Gyasi Zardes