COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has signed free agent defender Marlon Hairston. The seven-year veteran joins the reigning MLS Cup champions after having most recently played for Minnesota United FC. The 26-year-old has made 116 regular-season appearances in his seven seasons in Major League Soccer.
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“Marlon is a dynamic and versatile player who brings veteran Major League Soccer and Concacaf Champions League experience,” said Crew SC President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “We believe that Marlon’s abilities will help strengthen our roster and provide us with another strong defensive option, which will be needed in a highly congested season due to multiple club competitions and players lost due to international matches.”
Hairston played for Minnesota United FC during the 2020 season, having joined from the Houston Dynamo, where he spent the 2019 season. Prior to that, the defender played for the Colorado Rapids from 2014-2018 after being selected by Colorado in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Notably, during his time in Colorado, Hairston was named the Rapids’ 2016 Young Player of the Year.
In all, the defender has made 116 appearances (77 starts) in MLS regular-season action, scoring seven goals and providing 13 assists. Hairston has also made five appearances (three starts) in the Concacaf Champions League and one appearance (one start) in the Leagues Cup.
At the collegiate level, Hairston played for the University of Louisville from 2012-2013, making 39 appearances (38 starts) while registering six goals and five assists. During his tenure at Louisville, Hairston was named to the following end-of-year Best XI teams: First Team All-Big East (2013) and All-Big East Rookie Team (2012).
The Black & Gold are currently in Chula Vista, California for the 2021 preseason before traveling to Orlando, Florida on March 21. Following the training camp in Orlando, the Crew opens the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League on the road on April 8 against Nicaraguan side Real Esteli FC in the First Leg of the Round of 16, before hosting Real Esteli at home for the Second Leg on April 15. The Black & Gold are set to kick-off the 2021 MLS regular season in April with the League’s campaign beginning April 17. A complete MLS schedule is set to be announced by MLS in the near future as the Club prepares to move into New Crew Stadium this July.
Supporters interested in learning more about purchasing 2021 Season Ticket Memberships should visit CrewStadium.com, where they can see the view from each seat location along with the benefits of each section. Fans can also schedule their own private virtual tour of the New Crew Stadium with a Crew SC ticket representative.
The core of Crew’s 2020 MLS Cup-winning roster is set to return for the 2021 season. Crew SC exercised the contract options on eight players from its 2020 roster. With 18 other players already under contract for the 2021 season, the addition of Hairston gives the Black & Gold a roster that currently features 27 players.
Crew SC's current 2021 roster, listed alphabetically by position, is below:
Goalkeepers (4): Evan Bush, Eric Dick, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room
Defenders (9): Harrison Afful, Waylon Francis, Marlon Hairston, Aboubacar Keita, Grant Lillard, Jonathan Mensah, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wormgoor
Midfielders (11): Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne, Jr., Perry Kitchen, Aidan Morris, Kevin Molino, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan
Forwards (3): Miguel Berry, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Gyasi Zardes
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC signs free agent defender Marlon Hairston on March 3, 2021.
Name: Marlon Hairston
Born: March 23, 1994 in Jackson, Mississippi
Hometown: Jackson, Mississippi
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed by Crew SC from free agency on March 3, 2021
Previous Experience: Minnesota United (2020), Houston Dynamo (2019), Colorado Rapids (2014-2018)