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Michael Ritch, Jamal Sutton and Jake Traeger Sign Developmental Contracts With Crew

March 25, 2004 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Columbus Crew SC News Release

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Thursday, March 25) - Columbus Crew President and General Manager Jim Smith announced today that The Crew has signed forward Michael Ritch, defender Jake Traeger and forward/midfielder Jamal Sutton have signed developmental contracts with club.

Ritch and Traeger return for their second seasons in Columbus, while Sutton was The Crew's fourth-round draft pick (No. 32 overall) in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.

"All three of these young men have had excellent camps and we are happy that they will be with us for the 2004 season," said Crew Head Coach Greg Andrulis. "They have shown good potential and we expect them to continue to improve."

Ritch appeared in three games last season for a total of 21 minutes. The 6-3 forward was The Crew's fourth round pick in the 2003 SuperDraft out of Auburn University-Montgomery.

Traeger played in just one game in 2003 but made it a memorable one by notching two assists in just 12 minutes of play in the season finale, a 6-2 win over Chicago. By appearing in that game he became the first Ohio State Buckeye to appear in a MLS regular season game. Traeger graduated last Sunday, March 20, with a BA in Human Ecology. He was Columbus' sixth-round pick in 2003.

Sutton was selected by The Crew in the fourth-round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 SuperDraft after finishing up a stellar career at Southwest Missouri State University. The speedster ended his college career with 70 points on 26 goals and 18 assists.

The Crew opens the 2004 MLS season next Saturday, April 3, vs. the MetroStars at 7:30 p.m. at Crew Stadium.

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