The Columbus Crew announced the signing of center back Philip Quinton on Wednesday. Quinton was the No. 25 overall selection in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame by the Crew after the Black & Gold traded $50,000 in General Allocation Money to Real Salt Lake to acquire the pick and take the defender.
As a rookie last season, Quinton did not play for Columbus’ first team but was a regular for Crew 2, the MLS NEXT Pro reserve team. Quinton is the third player in club history to move from Crew 2 to the first team after Jacen Russell-Rowe and Mohamed Farsi signed first-team contracts during the 2022 season.
“We want to congratulate Phil on earning an opportunity with the First Team,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release announcing the signing. “We were impressed by Phil’s defensive performances with Crew 2, and his preparation, hard work and efforts have not gone unnoticed as he came into the 2023 preseason ready to fight for a position. Phil is another example of a player who spent time with Crew 2 prior to making the jump to the First Team, and we are proud to have established this pathway for players like him to take this next step in their professional careers.”
Quinton played an integral role with Crew 2 in 2022, playing in 16 matches and making 14 starts in the regular season, as well as going the full 90 in all three of the MLS NEXT Pro playoff games. Quinton made the substitute bench for the first team’s U.S. Open Cup match against Detroit City FC but was unused in that contest.
With Quinton helping to lead the backline, Crew 2 tied with Houston Dynamo 2 for the least amount of goals allowed in MLS NEXT Pro and tied for second, again with Houston, for the fewest shots against in the league. The Black & Gold also led the league with 12 clean sheets on the team’s way to winning the first MLS NEXT Pro Cup. After the season, Crew 2 head coach Laurent Courtois said Quinton “is one of the, if not the, best center back in the league.”
Following the 2022 season, Quinton’s contract option was declined but the team remained in discussions with the player. He has been a part of the first team’s preseason and did enough to impress new head coach Wilfried Nancy and earn a spot on the team.
At Notre Dame, Quinton started all 24 matches during his senior season. The Fighting Irish lost in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament to the eventual winners, Clemson. Quinton was named All-ACC third team and captained the 2021 Fighting Irish side. Quinton also was a four-time Honor Roll student-athlete.
The addition of Quinton adds depth to the center back group that features veteran Jonathan Mensah, Milos Degenek, Josh Williams and the recently signed Homegrown player, Keegan Hughes. The former Notre Dame center back brings experience in a three-man backline, the favored defensive formation of Courtois last year with Crew 2, which could be how the Crew play under Nancy in 2023.
Columbus Crew’s 2022 roster:
Goalkeepers (4): Evan Bush, Eloy Room, Patrick Schulte, Brady Scott
Defenders (10): Milos Degenek, Mohamed Farsi, Keegan Hughes, Jimmy Medranda, Jonathan Mensah, Steven Moreira, Jake Morris, Philip Quinton, Will Sands, Josh Williams
Midfielders (9): Luis Diaz, Kevin Molino, Alex Matan, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Yaw Yeboah, Sean Zawadzki, Lucas Zelarayan
Forwards (3): Cucho Hernandez, Christian Ramirez, Jacen Russell-Rowe