Columbus, OH — Wednesday morning, Columbus Crew SC announced that they have transferred defender Nicolai Naess to SC Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie. Details of the deal were not disclosed, per club policy.
Naess made 31 appearances (30 starts) for the Black and Gold and recorded two assists in the regular season after he joined the club in July of 2016.
Columbus Crew SC Transfers Nicolai Naess to SC Heerenveen
Naess made his debut August 13 when he was named in the starting roster against New York City FC. He finished the season with 13 appearances and two assists. This season, Naess made 18 regular-season appearances (17 starts).
Head Coach and Sporting Director Gregg Berhalter said in a statement:
“Nico is a talented young player with a great character and a bright future. We are happy to reach an agreement with SC Heerenveen that benefits both Nico and our club. As a club, we take pride in developing the international and professional careers of players on our roster. Nico worked hard for this opportunity and we wish him well in the next step of his career.”
Nico Naess Before Columbus Crew SC
Prior to joining the Black and Gold last year, Naess was on the roster with Stabaek in the Norweigan top flight. There, he made 74 appearances since his pro debut in 2012. Naess also played in two Europa League qualification matches. He started his career with Valerenga where he made five appearances at the age of 19. He then moved to Stabaek at the beginning of the 2013 season and immediately had an impact, where he helped the team reach promotion to Norway’s top flight Tippeligaen. There, they finished second and Naess made 21 appearances, 13 of them being starts.
Who replaces Naess?
With the departure of Naess, Columbus has a variety of options at center back: Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, and Lalas Abubakar. All are dynamic players. Abubakar, Crew SC’s first pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, has been seeing the field a lot lately, so there is no reason to go after another center back when the next transfer window approaches.