Crew selects Jeff Cunningham in Re-Entry
The Columbus Crew today selected forward Jeff Cunningham in Stage 2 of the first-ever MLS Re-Entry Process, meaning that the prolific veteran forward could return to the club with which he spent the first seven seasons of his professional career. If a player selected is not under contract, as is the case with Cunningham, the drafting club will be required to make an offer to the player within seven days. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached between the drafting club and the out-of-contract player, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.
The 2009 MLS Golden Boot winner (17 goals) is just two goals shy of becoming Major League Soccer’s all-time goal-scoring king. He will enter 2011 with 132 career goals scored, just one behind all-time leader Jaime Moreno’s 133. The 34-year-old Cunningham remains tied with Brian McBride atop the Crew’s all-time goal-scoring list, having tallied 62 times in Black & Gold.
“Jeff is the type of player we need,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “He has speed and can make a difference as a starter or off the bench. I think it would be good for him to return to Columbus and break Moreno’s record here.”
The Montego Bay, Jamaica native, and product of the University of South Florida was selected by the Crew in the first round (No. 9 overall) of the 1998 MLS College Draft and appeared in 182 games (112 starts) with the club from 1998-2004. Cunningham went on to play for Colorado, Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC and FC Dallas, where he spent the last three seasons. He was a MLS Best XI selection with the Crew in 2002 and again in 2006 (RSL) and 2009 (FCD).
While at USF, he earned first-team All-Conference USA honors as a sophomore and junior, and was named the Conference USA Player of the Year as a senior. He finished his career at USF with 41 goals and 36 assists. Cunningham became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001 and has since earned 12 caps with the U.S. National Team, scoring his first international goal in a friendly against Denmark on Nov. 18, 2009.
Founded by American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, 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 won its first MLS Cup championship in 2008 and has also won the 2002 U.S. Open Cup and MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. It recently completed its 15th season overall and 12th in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium.
Born: August 21, 1976, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Hometown: Crystal River, Fla.
2010 Team: FC Dallas
How Acquired: Selected by the Crew in Stage 2 of the 2010 Re-Entry Process.
Columbus Crew – Selected F Jeff Cunningham in Stage 2 of the 2010 MLS Re-Entry Process.