For weeks, supporters have speculated about the makeup of Columbus Crew‘s new reserve team, Crew. Specifically, how the roster is going to pan out for the first-year team in the brand new MLS NEXT Pro development league. On Thursday, the first signing in the team’s history was announced in Crew Academy midfielder Aidan Wolf. No terms of the deal were disclosed in his announcement.
“We are extremely proud to announce Aidan Wolf as the first signing for Columbus Crew 2,” said Crew 2 general manager Corey Wray said in a statement announcing the signing. “Aidan is a promising young midfielder who has made tremendous progress while in the Crew Academy and we can’t wait to see him continue to challenge himself at this next level. I want to also acknowledge our Academy Director Kelvin Jones and his staff for the tireless work they put in behind the scenes to get Aidan to this point in his career.”
Wolf has been part of the Black & Gold’s youth system since 2017. The Cleveland Heights, Ohio-native has featured at the Under-14, U-15, U-17 and U-19 Academy teams. At the age of 18, Wolf has already competed at the highest youth levels and received recognition for his play.
In the 2019 Generation Adidas Cup, Major League Soccer named Wolf in a list of the top 10 best players of the tournament. Throughout the competition, Wolf scored three goals, including a penalty kick at the end of regulation to beat the New England Revolution Academy team. Position-wise, Wolf is an attacking midfielder.
Adding youth to the attacking midfield is a logical step for the Black & Gold. This offseason, the first team spent resources strengthening the defensive midfield through the signing of Sean Zawadzki and the return of injured midfielders Aidan Morris and Artur. Now Columbus has a player that can develop in the attack.
Outside of the Crew Academy, Wolf has represented the United States at the U-14 and U-16 levels. He was also part of the 2016 Futsal World Cup as a member of the U.S. National Futsal Team.
MLS NEXT Pro is expected to begin its first season in March of 2022, with Crew 2 as one of the inaugural teams in the league. The Columbus front office sees Crew 2’s addition to the organization as the final gap needing to be filled between a player joining the Crew Academy’s youth levels and playing for the senior team in MLS. Wolf could be the first player to play at all three layers of the Black & Gold’s structure.
Crew 2 will play the team’s home matches at historic Crew Stadium. On Jan. 28, the Black & Gold announced the club’s first-ever head coach, Laurent Courtois. On Monday, the rest of the team’s coaching and support staff were announced. Joining Courtois on the bench are assistant coaches Phil Boerger and Kobie Johnson.
More roster announcements are expected for Crew 2 between now and the end of February. Currently, the team is in preseason at the OhioHealth Performance Center. Players are allowed to condition and prepare for the season before the league approves a schedule and player contracts.