Columbus Crew Launches Developmental Second Team, Columbus Crew 2
COLUMBUS - Columbus Crew today announced the launch of Columbus Crew 2, a developmental second team which is set to participate in Major League Soccer's recently announced MLS NEXT Pro. As part of the pathway to the Crew's First Team, Crew 2 will join the new league in the inaugural 2022 season and will play its regular-season matches at Historic Crew Stadium. Ticketing information for Crew 2 matches will be announced at a later time.
The newly formed Crew 2 will provide a competitive professional environment for existing Crew Academy players to continue their development. In addition to this, Crew 2 is also set to provide the Club with more opportunities for community engagement while extending Club access to supporters.
"The Columbus Crew is the original club in Major League Soccer and we are proud to be one of the original and founding members of MLS NEXT Pro," said Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. "We aspire to be an innovative Club - a Club that aims to be at the forefront of soccer development at all levels, and we believe the creation of the Second Team allows us to continue pursuing that endeavor. Crew 2 will provide Crew Academy players with a more well-defined pathway into the professional ranks while also providing opportunities for First Team players to earn minutes. Moreover, Crew 2 will be a platform to develop top talent across the technical staff."
As previously announced, Crew Assistant General Manager Corey Wray is set to serve as Crew 2's General Manager. Wray has previous second team experience, having served as the Assistant General Manager of Team Operations and Strategy at Toronto FC, a role in which he managed the high potential player development program including the launch and operations of Toronto FC II.
"We are excited about embarking in our inaugural season in MLS NEXT Pro," said Columbus Crew Assistant General Manager and Crew 2 General Manager Corey Wray. "We know that adding such an important development platform is crucial to the long-term viability of clubs. By having a second team we will not only be able to bridge the existing gap in our academy to professional level pathway, but also offer meaningful, consistent opportunities to a number of our high potential prospects. In addition to developing players, Crew 2 will provide us with another venue through which we can engage with our community, which has been a cornerstone of the Club since its inception."
Supporters interested in staying up to date with the latest news about Crew 2 should visit the team's website, ColumbusCrew.com/Crew2.
MLS NEXT Pro will complete an integrated player pathway from MLS NEXT through to the MLS first teams. The new league will offer young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship. The new league is set to feature 21 other MLS Clubs in its inaugural 2022 season including 19 other MLS Clubs and one independent club.
MLS NEXT Pro will kick off its inaugural season in March, just one month after MLS action starts, and see its season culminate in postseason action in September. More information on MLS NEXT Pro is available at MLSsoccer.com.
ABOUT COLUMBUS CREW
Columbus Crew is the first club in Major League Soccer. The Crew is operated by The Edwards Family and Haslam Sports Group. The Black & Gold are the 2020 MLS Cup Champions and the 2021 Campeones Cup winners. The Club won its first MLS Cup championship in 2008 and also won the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as MLS Supporters' Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. The 2021 campaign was the Columbus Crew's 26th season in MLS as well as the Club's final season at Historic Crew Stadium -- the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States - and the Crew's inaugural season at Lower.com Field.
Website: ColumbusCrew.com | Twitter: @ColumbusCrew | Instagram: @ColumbusCrew | | TikTok: @ColumbusCrew96 | Hashtag: #Crew96 | Facebook.com/columbuscrew | App: ColumbusCrew.com/app | Stadium: Lower.com Field | Training Facility: OhioHealth Performance Center
ABOUT COLUMBUS CREW 2
Announced on December 6, 2021, Columbus Crew 2 is Columbus Crew's Second Team, playing in MLS NEXT Pro starting in the 2022 season. A developmental team promoting community involvement, Crew 2 completes the Black & Gold player pathway, which begins with Crew Academy and ends with the Crew's First Team. Crew 2 is set to play its home matches at Historic Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States.
Website: ColumbusCrew.com/Crew2 | Stadium: Historic Crew Stadium | Training Facility: OhioHealth Performance Center
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