The club announced on Monday afternoon that it has exercised contract options on the three players for next season. This marks the third significant off-season roster move after re-signing forward Adam Jahn October 25th as well as midfielder Hector Jimenez and goalkeeper Brad Stuver November 16th.
— #ClaimGlory (@ColumbusCrewSC) November 21, 2016
Columbus Crew SC Exercises Options on Wil Trapp, Justin Meram and Federico Higuain
Trapp, Meram and Higuain have been mainstays of the Crew SC roster for quite some time now. They’ve combined for 370 matches played and have scored a combined 64 goals and 70 assists for the club. When all three have been in the starting XI, Columbus has a 19-10-12 record.
Head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter discussed the importance of locking these talented players up moving forward.
“We are glad to have Federico, Justin and Wil back for 2017 as they have been important pieces of our club in their time here,” the Crew SC boss said. “Each of them continues to play a key role in our system and we look forward to their continued contributions on and off the field next season.”
Trapp continues to be among the more dynamic and promising holding midfielders in MLS. His 88.06 percent passing accuracy was second best in the league. And despite missing some time due to a concussion, he finished with 1,718 successful passes which was also MLS’ second best total. In 2016, he became the first Homegrown player in Crew SC history to be named to the AT&T MLS All-Star Game roster.
This past season was arguably Meram’s best for the Black and Gold. The club’s longest tenured player having been drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Meram finished with a career-high 13 assists in 2016 along with five goals. Advanced statistics website Whoscored.com gave him the tenth highest player rating in all of MLS.
In Higuain, the club has a strong leadership presence and one of the top chance creators in the league. Since he arrived in MLS, he’s completed 373 key passes. That number is second best during that time period, trailing only former Real Salt Lake number ten Javier Morales. Higuain was named MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2012.
Crew SC has already announced a busy preseason schedule. The team will be in Brazil from January 26th to February 8th where they will train with renowned club São Paulo FC. Afterwards, they’re slated to play in the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, SC starting February 18th and ending a week later. There, they’ll join the Seattle Sounders, USL club Charleston Battery and MLS expansion franchise Atlanta United FC.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Crew SC Communications.