With the winter transfer window just around the corner, the Columbus Crew will have the chance to make some noise by adding players ahead of the 2023 Major League Soccer season to prepare for the upcoming campaign. On Wednesday however, the Black & Gold had the opportunity to add multiple in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft.
With the Crew’s first pick, No. 14 overall, the team selected forward Maximilian Arfsten from San Jose Earthquakes II of MLS NEXT Pro. This pick comes as a surprise, as Arfsten becomes the first player taken in the SuperDraft from the reserve league, which will enter its second year in 2023.
The 21-year-old attacker had had some really impressive numbers prior to his selection. It’s now an interesting situation to see how Columbus uses Arfsten in the team’s new system.
For the Earthquakes II last season, Arfsten appeared in 24 games, making 21 starts. During the year, he produced nine goals, which were tied for eighth in the league and was second on his team, along with six assists, which were tied for fourth in all competitions.
Prior to the Earthquakes II, Arfsten, who is a native of Fresno California, attended San Joaquin Memorial high school, before attending UC Davis at the collegiate level.
In high school, he registered 50 goals and 20 assists during his time, capturing all-league first-team honors for three straight seasons, and back-to-back MBP accolades. He spent nine years with California Odyssey Soccer Club and was the leading NPL goal scorer.
Following his high school career, Arfsten joined UC Davis, where he competed in the Big West Conference for two years. In his freshman campaign, he started 16 of 19 games where he totaled just one goal and an assist.
While the 2020 season was canceled to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Arfsten wasted no time in 2021, starting 18 of 20 games, scoring eight goals to go along with seven assists during his sophomore campaign. He was named Big West Men’s Player of the Year.
Arfsten and the Aggies made back-to-back Big West semifinals in 2021. In the first round of the tournament, Arfsten scored a goal and added an assist to upset No. 1 CSU Bakersfield 3-1.
Confident and impressive in front of goal, Arfsten can be a serious weapon in the future for the Crew. He knows how to attack opposing goalkeepers 1 on 1 and is deadly on the wing.
He will likely be used with Crew 2 for development to begin his professional career but obviously will have more experience at that level than most taken in the SuperDraft.
Only founded a year ago, Crew 2 won the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro Cup title, defeating St. Louis City SC 2 4-1 in October. General manager Corey Wray, who will speak to the media following the SuperDraft, along with head coach Laurent Courtois knows how to get the best out of the youngsters, and Arfsten can be next in line on a well-developed team.