Shortly before the Columbus Crew starts the team’s final preseason tournament in the Carolina Challenge Cup, the Black & Gold released their 2022 preseason roster. Included in the list were players’ numbers and a few interesting developments.
Number-wise, there aren’t too many callouts except for the new players joining the team. New winger Yaw Yeboah takes the No. 14 after fullback Waylon Francis wasn’t re-signed in the offseason. Defender Milos Degenek will wear No. 5, formerly worn by fellow center back Vito Woormgoor. after the Dutch defender did not return to the club this year.
Columbus also lost a pair of fullbacks after the Crew failed to make the 2021 MLS Cup playoffs. Harrison Afful’s No. 25 now belongs to Black & Gold Homegrown player Sean Zawadzki in what feels like the beginning of a new era in many ways. Columbus’ goal this offseason was to get younger and still compete. The 21-year-old Zawadzki taking the number from the 35-year-old Afful feels the most significant of squad numerical changes.
Also, a duo of new fullbacks joins the revamped Crew backline. Will Sands takes the No. 30 from former center back Aboubacar Keita and midfielder Aidan Morris’ brother Jake Morris will wear the No. 33 kit.
Elsewhere, midfielder James Igbekeme, who is slated to arrive in Charleston, South Carolina this weekend, now has Saad Abdul-Salaam’s No. 26. Recently acquired galkeepers Brady Scott and 2022 MLS SuperDraft pick Patrick Schulte have the No. 32 and 28 respectively.
From last season, only one numerical change was made by the team. Forward Erik Hurtado, who the Black & Gold initially let go after 2021 but returned as a surprise offseason signing will wear No. 19 in 2021. Elsewhere, fullback Steven Moreira still brandishes No. 31 and winger Alexandru Matan keeps Brian McBride’s famous No. 20 jersey.
In addition to the numbers, the roster release debuted some new Black & Gold players. MLS SuperDraft picks Philip Quinton (No. 36) and Jacob Erlandson (No. 37) are listed as unsigned draft picks.
A name from SuperDrafts of the past also is included in the preseason roster. Clemson University standout Justin Malou (No. 40), who Columbus still holds the rights to, is listed as a training camp invitee. Also, Coleman Gannon, who plays forward for Atlanta United II, is also a training camp invite. Gannon will wear No. 43.
Here’s the full list:
Crew 2022 Preseason Roster and Kit Numbers
|8||Artur de Lima|
|22||Derrick Etienne Jr.|
^Training Camp Invitee
*Unsigned SuperDraft Pick