Crew sign French midfielder Griffit

The Columbus Crew announced today that it has signed French midfielder Léandre Griffit. Per club and league policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed. The Crew also announced that it has placed midfielder Kevin Burns on the disabled list with a sports hernia (athletic pubalgia).

The 5-8, 155-pound Griffit, who received call-ups at several levels of the French National Team youth program, joins the Crew after most recently playing with Union Royale Sportive du Centre of the Belgian Third Division in 2009, where he tallied seven goals and four assists, including one tally in cup play. Griffit’s signing culminates a successful trial, which included a one-goal, one-assist performance in an exhibition match against Marshall University on April 2.

“Leandre is a player who has some qualities that we were looking for,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “He brings something different to our team, along with the experiences and perspective of someone who has played overseas for a number of different clubs in different countries.”

A native of Maubeuge, France, Griffit began his career in the youth system of French club Racing Club de Lens from 1998-2001, before joining French second division side Amiens S.C. in 2002. After impressive performances for Amiens, Griffit caught the attention of English Premier League club Southampton FC, where he signed in 2003. Griffit made eight appearances for Southampton in his two seasons with the club, but a coaching change limited his first team appearances, as he was then loaned to several lower division English clubs, including Leeds United (2004) and Rotherham United FC (2005).

Griffit then departed English soccer in 2006 to sign with IF Elsborg of the Swedish First Division, where he became a full-time starter in his first season and helped the club to the 2006 Swedish Allsvenskan Championship (league title), while also participating in rounds one and two of UEFA Champions League qualification. Griffit was then loaned to Swedish second division side IFK Norrköping, who he helped to the 2007 Swedish Superettan Championship (second division league title) and promotion to the Swedish first division.

Griffit returned to England to sign with Crystal Place of the Coca Cola Championship (English second division) in 2008, where he played in six games, including one FA Cup match, before joining Union Royale Sportive du Centre for the 2009 season.

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 championship and MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. It is currently in its 15th season overall and 12th in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium.

#13 - Léandre Griffit
Pronunciation: lay-ONN-druh grih-FEE
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 155
Born: May 21, 1984 (Maubeuge, France)
Hometown: Elesmes, France
Citizenship: France
2009 Team: Union Royale Sportive du Centre (Belgium)
How Acquired: Signed on May 14, 2010
Professional Experience: Union Royale Sportive du Centre, Belgian Third Division (2009-10); Crystal Palace, English Second Division (2008-09); IFK Norrköping, Swedish Second Division (loan: 2007-08); IF Elsborg, Swedish First Divison (2006-08); Rotterham United FC, English Second Division (loan: 2004-05); Coca Cola Championship (loan: 2004-05); Southampton FC, English First Divison (2003-05);

Columbus Crew (MLS) – Signed M Léandre Griffit and placed M Kevin Burns on the Disabled List.

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