On Friday, the Columbus Crew made a second signing from within the team’s own building. Crew 2 midfielder Mohamed Farsi, of the MLS NEXT Pro development league, signed a contract with the Black & Gold’s senior team, the club announced.
Farsi was an early signing for Crew 2, announcing his move to Columbus on March 18 from the Canadian Premier League. With Cavalry FC, Farsi made 38 appearances in two seasons and received the CPL’s Best U-21 Player of the Year Award. Canada wasn’t his first stint playing professionally either as Farsi spent time in Algeria with AS Ain M’Lila prior to playing in two of North America’s professional leagues.
Internationally, Farsi represents Canada on their U-23 team. Farsi has two caps, both in Olympic qualification and has also played twice with Canada’s national futsal team.
This season, Farsi’s first in any division of Major League Soccer, has been a success. Farsi started all 14 matches in which he has played for Crew 2, assisting on six goals. In those matches, Farsi has played defensively as a fullback, a center back and in the midfield, being open to wherever head coach Laurent Courtois and the team’s needed him.
On the field, Farsi’s known for moving aggressively up the field and creating opportunities. His work earned him two appearances with the Crew first team, the first coming on June 18 followed by another on June 25, playing 23 minutes across the two matches.
Although the minutes don’t stand out without a goal or assist to his name, Farsi performed well on the field. In the dying minutes against Real Salt Lake, Farsi pushed the Black & Gold from the defensive end of the field into the attack. Although Columbus couldn’t finish the chance in the 0-0 draw, it showed flashes of Farsi’s readiness for play at the senior team level.
Those two substitution appearances made him no longer eligible to be loaned up from Crew 2, with MLS NEXT Pro not allowing more than two first team appearances per season. Farsi’s signing with the Crew first team allows him to now play as many minutes as head coach Caleb Porter needs, and the mobility to continue playing with Crew 2.
Farsi came into senior team matches as a full back and is likely to stay in that position if he comes into matches for the Black & Gold. He’s played mainly on the right side, putting him behind fullback Steven Moreira on the first team.
This isn’t the first time a member of Crew 2 has signed with the first team this year. Forward Jacen Russell-Rowe, who leads MLS NEXT Pro with 13 goals, signed with Columbus on June 29. Russell-Rowe’s been successful with the first team, starting three matches since signing and earning two assists in a 2-1 victory against Toronto FC on June 29, showing the importance of having a development team in-house.
“Mohamed quickly distinguished himself as one of the top performers for Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro and we have been impressed with his ability to contribute defensively and offensively,” said President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Second teams are crucial to developing young talent and we’re already seeing the fruits of Crew 2 with the signings of first Jacen and now Mohamed.”
On Friday, Farsi was with the senior team in training in preparation for Saturday’s home match versus the New England Revolution. With the Crew back to almost full health, only midfielder Artur sits on the injury report while recovering from a lower leg injury.