In the second round of the MLS SuperDraft, the Columbus Crew stuck with the trend of selecting defensive players. With the No. 40 overall pick, No. 12 in the second round, the Black & Gold added another center back in Ohioan Jacob Erlandson. This came after taking goalkeeper Patrick Schulte and then defender Philip Quinton in the first round.
Erlandson is a 6-foot-1 defender who thrived on the pitch at Bowling Green State University. In Bowling Green’s 19 matches in the 2021 season, the Falcons won 11. Erlandson starred as a team captain who started every match and contributed offensively with six goals and four assists.
Bowling Green excelled in 2021 with the team’s marquee victory of the year coming in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. On an away trip to Louisville, Erlandson led the Falcons to a 1-0 shutout victory. The Falcons’ season ended in the second round, losing 2-0 to No. 17 ranked Indiana.
Erlandson’s 2021 performance earned him All-MAC first team, his second straight honor after securing the same recognition after the 2020 season. Those conference awards turned into national praise for the defender.
Because of Erlandson’s play, he was one of 44 athletes invited to the December MLS College Showcase. Even though Erlandson didn’t play at a power conference soccer school like many in the MLS SuperDraft pool, he was listed 87th on Top Drawer Soccer’s preseason top 100 players in the nation.
Prior to his collegiate days, Erlandson was a two-time All-Ohio first-team selection. Although he was born in Akron, Ohio, he calls Dayton home.
Columbus’ second center back of the draft has a similar trait to Quinton. Specifically. Erlandson was a multi-sport athlete in high school. Erlandson lettered in baseball and basketball at Dayton Christian High School before departing for college.
After graduating high school, Erlandson didn’t immediately make the jump to NCAA Division I soccer. Instead, he started his college career at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. Huntington is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes, a lead for smaller colleges and universities.
It should come as no surprise that Erlandson excelled at Huntington before making the jump to Bowling Green. In 2019, his final year before transferring, Erlandson led the Foresters defense to 10 shutout victories and was named an NAIA All-American as junior.
Soccer is part of the Erlandson family DNA. Both of Erlandson’s brothers, Daniel and Josh, played collegiately. Josh specifically played at both Huntington and Bowling Green with the new Crew draft pick.
While the Black & Gold putting two rookie center backs on the roster seems unlikely, Erlandson won’t have to move too far. If he does not make the first team, the defender could have an opportunity with Columbus’ MLS Next Pro side, Crew 2.
Erlandson brings mobility and offense to the defender position. A piece of criticism for Crew center backs that haven’t made it on the club is lacking ability to pass offensively out of the back. Erlandson looks like he can fit the billing.
The Black & Gold preseason begins on Jan. 16 when players report to the OhioHealth Performance Center. The MLS season starts for Columbus on Feb. 26 with a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.