The Columbus Crew today announced that five players are set to gain match experience with the Dayton Dutch Lions (USL-PRO) as part of the partnership between the two clubs. Ryan Finley, Kevan George, Ross Friedman and Matt Walker are set to train and play with the Dutch Lions while goalkeeper Brad Stuver will train with Columbus and will dress for the Dutch Lions. All five players may be recalled at any point. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, further terms of the deals were not disclosed.
“We’re excited about the new partnership with Dayton and the additional opportunities it provides to develop more players on our roster,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “It provides our new professionals with a smoother introduction to the rigors of professional soccer. Other players need minutes and experience to continue their development and Dayton provides them with an opportunity to play games at a very competitive level. And then you have a third group of guys that need confidence and we hope that Dayton provides them an opportunity to play, find some rhythm and ultimately perform.”
Finley made 14 appearances – including three starts – as a rookie in 2013, scoring one goal and one assist. George has made 18 appearances – including seven starts – in time at defender and midfielder since 2012. Rookie defender Ross Friedman and midfielder Matt Walker, a pair of Homegrown Players, were signed on January 8, 2014 from Harvard University and Xavier University, respectively. Stuver – who spent time with the Crew as an MLS Pool Goalkeeper in 2013 – was selected in the 2013 MLS Waiver Draft on November 25, 2013 and has yet to make his MLS debut.
This is the second major announcement of the week for the Dutch Lions organization. On Monday the club announced that Dutch soccer legend Ruud Gullit would be coming to Cincinnati and Dayton on May 9-11, making appearances at PDL and USL PRO matches in addition to leading youth soccer clinics in the area.
Further information about Dutch Lions FC matches and events can be found at www.daytondutchlionsfc.com.