The makeover of the Columbus Crew roster continued on Friday. After several departures and some key additions, the Crew announced the team traded goalkeeper Jon Kempin to Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United in exchange for a third-round 2021 Major League Soccer SuperDraft pick.
“We would like to thank Jon for his contributions and dedication to Columbus Crew SC during his three seasons with the club,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a release announcing the trade. “We wish him all the best in this next stage of his career.”
Despite being only 27 years old, Kempin will enter his 12th season in MLS in 2021. His career began when he signed a Homegrown contract with Sporting Kansas City (then the Kansas City Wizards) at age 17. Kempin spent the first seven years of his career in Kansas City, which included a number of loan spells to United Soccer League sides early on. He made four appearances, three starts, in 2014 and had three starts in 2015, allowing 12 total goals in total. The goalkeeper did not appear in any matches for Sporting in 2016.
Kempin was traded to the LA Galaxy just prior to the 2017 season. After playing with the Galaxy’s reserve team, Kempin eventually stepped into the starting role in Los Angeles, making seven starts that year, including two shutouts.
Following the season, Kempin was again traded, this time to the Crew for a fourth-round SuperDraft pick. The goalkeeper began his career with the Black & Gold as the backup to starter Zack Steffen but made five appearances, all starts, in his first season in Gregg Berhalter’s team with Steffen away on international duty with the United States Men’s National Team.
After Steffen departed for Manchester City in the summer of 2019, Kempin and newly-acquired goalkeeper Joe Bendik battled for the starting job. In total, Kempin appeared in three games, all starts, for Columbus that season, conceding four goals before the team brought in Curacao international goalkeeper Eloy Room to serve as the starter.
With Room entrenched in the No. 1 job and Andrew Tarbell brought to the Crew to be the backup, Kempin did not feature for the Black & Gold in 2020. He spent much of the season on loan to the San Diego Loyal, but returned in time for Columbus’ postseason run and was able to celebrate the team’s MLS Cup championship at the season’s end.
In D.C., Kempin will join a goalkeeper room that includes starter Bill Hamid and backup Chris Seitz.
Despite this move and the departure of Tarbell, who was not re-signed and is now with Austin FC, the Crew continues to have depth at the goalkeeper position. Behind Room, the Black & Gold brought in veteran and Ohio native Evan Bush and still have last year’s third-string goalkeeper Matt Lampson on the roster. Eric Dick, selected in the 2021 Re-Entry Draft in late December, remains unsigned.
The Crew’s current 2021 roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Evan Bush, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room
Defenders (9): Harrison Afful, Chris Cadden, Waylon Francis, Aboubacar Keita, Grant Lillard, Jonathan Mensah, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wormgoor
Midfielders (9): Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne, Jr., Aidan Morris, Kevin Molino, Darlington Nagbe, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan
Forwards (3): Miguel Berry, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Gyasi Zardes