On Dec. 15, the Columbus Crew announced the team’s 2022 MLS regular season schedule. On Tuesday, the Crew announced how the team will prepare for the upcoming season.
The Black & Gold made public their training dates and locations for the preseason. While no preseason matches have been announced, here is where the Crew will prep for the new season:
January 16: Players report to Columbus, Ohio
January 18-28: Training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
February 1-6: Training at OhioHealth Performance Center
February 7-19: Training camp in Charleston, S.C.
After players report to Columbus for preseason physicals and testing, the team will head to South Florida. After 10 days in the sunshine state, the Crew head back to Columbus where the team will train exclusively at the OhioHealth Performance Center.
At Columbus’ training facility is the brand new field bubble that allows the team to train while also avoiding the unpredictable Ohio weather elements. After a quick five days in Central Ohio, the Crew head south again, this time to Charleston, South Carolina.
The Black & Gold have history training in South Carolina. Charleston was the home of the now-defunct Carolina Challenge Cup. In six years competing in the preseason tournament, Columbus won the preseason tournament four times, tied with D.C. United for the most in the tournament’s 15-year history.
Again, no matches are announced with Tuesday’s news. Those will be announced in the coming weeks. We do know, however, who will still be on the roster.
Since Columbus’ early entry into the preseason, after the defending MLS Cup champions missed the 2021 MLS Cup playoffs, the Black & Gold secured talent to bounce back. The Crew re-signed starting goalkeeper Eloy Room and offensive weapons in a pair of talented midfielders. Both Lucas Zelarayan and Pedro Santos return to the club.
A name that’s missing from the 2022 roster, so far, is fullback Milton Valenzuela. The 23-year-old Argentinian has spent three seasons with the Crew. Valenzuela is now out of contract and the last word from the organization is that talks were ongoing to bring him back. In four seasons, Valenzuela contributed one goal and 10 assists. That does include one season where the Argentinian missed the entire year due to a torn ACL.
There’s still a lot of room on the Columbus roster heading into the preseason. No additional roster announcements have been made about new signings or trades within the Black & Gold front office at this time. While the silence can be hard to ignore, sometimes no news is good news. At the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft, for expansion side Charlotte FC, Columbus didn’t lose any key players from the 2021 roster. Names like defender Josh Williams and midfielder Marlon Hairston are slated to return for the 2022 season.
The Crew opens the regular season this year on February 26, when the team welcomes the Western Conference’s Vancouver Whitecaps to Lower.Com Field.