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The Crew signs veteran midfielder Perry Kitchen

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The Black & Gold add another experienced MLS piece to the team’s 2021 roster

MLS: LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew continues to reshape the roster in hopes of winning more championships after taking home the club’s second ever MLS Cup in early December. On Thursday the Crew signed veteran midfielder Perry Kitchen from free agency. This was first reported by Jacob Myers of The Columbus Dispatch and confirmed by Massive Report.

Kitchen, 28, comes to Columbus after eight seasons in Major League Soccer playing for both D.C. United and the LA Galaxy. Kitchen also spent time in Europe, playing for Scottish club Hearts and Danish side Randers FC.

Perry is a seasoned player whose addition to our roster will help bolster our midfield,” Cre president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Along with bringing a decade of professional experience and leadership in MLS and abroad, Perry will provide another important veteran voice to our locker room. We believe that his qualities as a player on and off the field will allow him to fit right in at our Club.”

Coming out of Akron, where he was coached for one season by current Crew manager Caleb Porter, Kitchen was selected third overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft by United. He made his professional debut in D.C.’s opening game of the season against the Black & Gold. As a rookie Kitchen started 30 of the 31 games he played, scoring one goal for United and was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year.

Kitchen remained a key part of the D.C. midfield over the next five seasons. He played in nearly every game for United in MLS competition, featuring in 127 contests, including 125 starts. Kitchen managed 10 goals and 10 assists during his first stint in MLS, including his career-best year of 2014 where he registered five goals and four assists.

Following the 2015 season, Kitchen signed with Hearts after his contract with D.C. expired. He made his debut in the Scottish Premier League quickly after putting pen to paper as a substitute in a 1-0 win against Dundee. Prior to the 2016-17 season, Kitchen was named the club’s captain, though he saw his minutes decline after a change in manager.

After the 2016-17 season, Kitchen was allowed to leave Hearts and signed with Danish SuperLiga club Randers. In East Jutland, Kitchen made just 17 appearances over the course of his one season.

Kitchen returned to MLS in 2018, signing with the Galaxy after LA traded $100,000 in General Allocation Money and $200,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to United for his rights. Over the last three seasons, Kitchen played 60 games for the Galaxy, while making 52 starts and registering four assists. This past year, Kitchen played 21 times, 19 starts, for an LA side that finished 6-12-4 and missed the MLS Cup playoffs.

Over his 10-year playing career, Kitchen has made five appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team after making his debut in February of 2015.

In Columbus, Kitchen will serve as veteran depth. The Crew has two established starters in the central midfield roles in Darlington Nagbe and Artur. Last year, the team acquired Fatai Alashe from FC Cincinnati midseason to increase the depth at the positions. The Black & Gold also has second-year Homegrown players Aidan Morris and Sebastian Berhalter, who combined to play 19 games, seven starts as rookies. Columbus also signed Homegrown midfielder Isaiah Parente after three seasons at Wake Forest.

The Crew’s current 2021 roster:

Goalkeepers (4): Evan Bush, Eric Dick, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room

Defenders (8): Harrison Afful, Waylon Francis, Aboubacar Keita, Grant Lillard, Jonathan Mensah, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wormgoor

Midfielders (11): Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne, Jr., Perry Kitchen, Aidan Morris, Kevin Molino, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan

Forwards (3): Miguel Berry, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Gyasi Zardes