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Crew acquires Danny O'Rourke, Will Hesmer from Toronto

November 17, 2006 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Columbus Crew SC News Release

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Crew today acquired midfielder Danny O'Rourke and goalkeeper Will Hesmer from Toronto FC in exchange for a partial allocation, after Toronto selected them in today's MLS Expansion Draft. Per club policy, terms of the partial allocation were not disclosed. Toronto, MLS's 13th team which will begin play in 2007, also selected Crew defender Ritchie Kotschau in the expansion draft.

O'Rourke, a former prep star at Worthington Kilbourne High School - where he captained the Wolves to the 2000 Division I state title at Crew Stadium - and M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner at Indiana University, returns home for his third professional season. The 23-year-old spent his rookie season of 2005 with the San Jose Earthquakes (now Houston Dynamo) and the 2006 campaign with the New York Red Bulls. He has appeared in 41 career games, starting 39 of them, and notched two assists, both in 2006.

"We have been looking at ways and opportunities to acquire Danny for some time now," said Crew General Manager Mark McCullers. "We're thrilled to welcome a home-grown product who has had success at every level and we look forward to keeping him in Black and Gold for many years to come."

Hesmer, who will turn 25 on Thanksgiving day, spent the last three seasons with the Kansas City Wizards and earned the first three starts of his career this year, including one against the Crew. The Wake Forest product went 1-2-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average in 2006 and his first career victory came at Crew Stadium on June 10.

"It's nice to get Danny O'Rourke back home where he belongs, as a member of the Columbus Crew," said Crew Head Coach Sigi Schmid. "He will help add some strength and experience to our midfield in 2007. The addition of Will Hesmer gives us a good young goalkeeper who has served his apprenticeship and is ready to make his mark in MLS."

Kotschau, a nine-year veteran who turns 31 next week, recently completed his first season in Columbus. He appeared in 26 games, 23 of them starting assignments, before suffering a season-ending left leg fracture on Oct. 7, and tallied one goal and two assists.

"Although he was only here for a year, Ritchie was a true professional in every sense and we are grateful for his service to the Crew," McCullers said. "On behalf of the organization, we wish him continued success in his career."

Schmid added that "Unfortunately, in this sort of situation (expansion draft), there's always a possibility that you could lose a valuable player. It's difficult to lose someone of Ritchie's ability and professionalism and wish him nothing but the best."

The Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club, anchoring a diverse sports and entertainment enterprise. One of the league's Charter Members, it recently completed its 11th season overall and eighth in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium.

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