The Columbus Crew has made it official. The Black & Gold announced on Monday the signing of 27-year-old French defender Steven Moreira. The news of this signing was first reported by RMC Sport and then confirmed by Jacob Myers of The Columbus Dispatch and by Massive Report.
Moreira has been out of contract since July after most recently playing for French Ligue 2 side Toulouse FC. The fullback has made 215 appearances in club soccer and played the last nine years in various European leagues. Moreira’s contract, which will be completed upon the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa, will be for the rest of the 2021 season with an option for 2022 and 2023. He will occupy an international roster spot for Columbus.
“We are excited to welcome Steven to the Crew,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release announcing Moreira’s signing. “Steven is a dynamic defender who is entering the prime of his career, and we believe his addition will help strengthen our backline on both sides of the ball. As someone who has regularly played in one of the top leagues in the world, we are pleased he has chosen the Crew and we look forward to incorporating him into the team.”
Moreira is a product of Stade Rennais FC, beginning his career in the French side’s youth system. He remained with the club until 2016, making 73 appearances in all competitions while scoring one goal and adding two assists. Moreira helped Stade Rennais reach the Coupe de France final and the quarterfinals of the Coupe de la Ligue during his time with the club.
Before moving to Toulouse in 2018, Moreira played for FC Lorient, joining the club in 2019. There, Moreira played in 74 games across all competitions, scoring two goals and adding seven assists. For Toulouse, the defender appeared 68 times across all competitions and scored one goal and registered three assists. He helped Toulouse reach the quarterfinal of the 2020-21 Coupe de France.
Internationally, Moreira played for the France youth national teams at the Under-16, 19, 20 and 21 levels. He played in the 2013 UEFA European Under-19 European Championship, helping France finish as the runner-up to Serbia.
The Crew has had the team’s eye on adding a right back for some time with starter Harrison Afful turning 35 this season. During the offseason, the Black & Gold brought in Marlon Hairston, hoping the MLS veteran could develop into Afful’s successor. Hairston, however, has spent the vast majority of the year, since returning from injury, working at the central midfield spot. Columbus also added Saad Abdul-Salaam this year, who has played in 13 games and started six times but is not as attacking as a player such as Afful or Moreira.
Losers of six straight games, the Crew turns its focus on FC Cincinnati. The Black & Gold’s Ohio rivals visit Lower.com Field for the first time on Friday night. Moreira is not expected to be available for that match.