COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced that Crew Juniors has extended its partnership with its affiliate program in Grand Rapids, Mich., the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors, for two additional years. The new contract extends the partnership to its seventh and eighth years as a Crew Juniors affiliate. Further details of the partnership were not disclosed.
"We are very excited to renew our partnership with the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors for two more years," said Senior Vice President of Soccer Business Development Andrew Arthurs. "As our first Crew Juniors affiliate, we have been really encouraged by their remarkable progress, growth and success over the past six years. We look forward to reaching new levels with them in the years to come."
Since the affiliation began in 2007, the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors have nearly tripled in size. With the Crew's presence in Grand Rapids, hundreds of Michigan youth will receive membership in one of the most innovative and comprehensive player development systems in the country. Each year, one to two Grand Rapids Crew Juniors players are included on the Crew Juniors roster for the exclusive MLS Generation adidas Cup in August.
"The Grand Rapids Crew Juniors are extremely excited to continue our affiliation with the Columbus Crew," Grand Rapids General Manager and Director of Coaching Josh Sheldon added. "Working with Columbus has been a great opportunity for us as a club and it continues to offer many great opportunities for our coaches, players and teams."
Much like the Crew's youth teams in Ohio, the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors have seen success on the national stage. The Crew's Grand Rapids affiliate has sent a team to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships the past five years, winning the U-17 National Championship in 2011. In addition, more than 100 players from the Grand Rapids program have gone on to play college soccer since 2007.
At the U.S. Soccer Development Academy level, both Crew Soccer Academy squads will face their affiliate partners in their next scheduled matches when the CSA Wolves host the Black & Gold on April 6 at Jaycee Park in Livonia, Mich. The U-18s are scheduled to kick off at 2:00 p.m. with the U-16s slated for 4:30 p.m.
CREW YOUTH UPDATE ROUND-UP
The Under-16 Crew Soccer Academy squad played one match over the weekend, drawing Sockers FC 1-1 in Chicago. Javier Meneses-Wallace scored the 16s' lone tally of the match. Sunday's match at FC Milwaukee was canceled due to inclement weather. The U-16 (6-6-5, 23 pts.) team currently sits in sixth-place of the USSDA Central Conference on 23 points this season. The CSA Wolves are atop the division with a record of 13-1-3 (42 pts.). The CSA U-16 team will face its affiliate partner CSA Wolves on Saturday April 6 in Michigan.
The Under-18 Crew Soccer Academy squad moved to fifth-place in the Mid-America Division of the USSDA’s Central Conference following a 2-0 win at Sockers FC on Saturday. Andrew McKelvey and William Bayemi scored second half goals to lead the Black & Gold to victory. The CSA U-18 team, now 8-8-1 (25 pts.) will face its affiliate partner CSA Wolves on Saturday April 6 in Michigan. The CSA Wolves are eighth in the division with a record of 6-7-3 (21 pts.).