Columbus Crew SC announced on Friday that the club sent goalkeeper Jon Kempin on loan to United Soccer League Championship expansion side San Diego Loyal SC, coached by former United States soccer legend Landon Donovan. This news comes shortly after the club announced that center back Axel Sjoberg is on loan to USL Championship team, San Antonio FC.
Like with the Sjoberg loan, Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko believes this will be a good opportunity for Kempin to get playing time, something he likely would have not received this year in Columbus. The Black & Gold retain the right to recall Kempin at any point during the loan spell.
“It is important for Jon to consistently play games which was at the forefront of this decision,” Bezbatchenko in the press release. “We believe that this opportunity will allow Jon to get valuable minutes while with San Diego Loyal SC and we look forward to monitoring his progress while on loan.”
The Crew acquired Kempin in a trade with the LA Galaxy prior to the 2018 season for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. In his first two seasons in Columbus, Kempin served as the backup to starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen and, after the U.S. international departed for Manchester City last summer, Eloy Room. In total, Kempin has made eight appearances, all starts, for the Black & Gold, allowing 12 goals.
Kempin played one season with the Galaxy (2017) and appeared seven times that year, all starts, and recording two shutouts. Prior to his stint with the Galaxy, Kempin spent the start of his career with Sporting Kansas City, where he was a Homegrown product. He played four games, three starts, in 2014 and had three starts in 2015, allowing 12 total goals. The goalkeeper did not appear in any matches for Kansas City in 2016.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Kempin made appearances for the United States National Team at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels, and was also called into the 2015 senior team January camp under Jurgen Klinsmann.
With Room returning after coming to the Crew last summer, Kempin was set to be the backup in Columbus yet again in 2020. The Black & Gold then acquired former Homegrown product Matt Lampson in the offseason and traded for Andrew Tarbell, formerly of the San Jose Earthquakes, just before the start of the year.
A crowded goalkeeper room likely meant that one player was going out on loan. Kempin has not been with the Crew at training since the team returned from the preseason. Kempin played one half of the 2020 Tucson Sun Cup preseason tournament against the New York Red Bulls.