COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced that it has signed Costa Rican National Team defender Giancarlo (pronounced: JEE-anne-carlo) Gonzalez. The 26-year-old centerback most recently played in Norway’s Tippeligaen for two seasons after playing in Costa Rica’s Primera League from 2008-2012. Gonzalez will be added to the roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa. Per club and MLS policy, additional terms of the signing were not disclosed.
"Giancarlo is a very experienced, young and promising centerback," said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “He has experience in Europe and international experience with the Costa Rican National Team. He's been a solid starter all through FIFA World Cup Qualifying for Costa Rica and we feel he is going to be a good addition to our team.
“He's dangerous on offensive set pieces and he's a good passer of the ball," continued Berhalter. “He's good in one-v-one tackling and he has leadership qualities. He's proven that he can win with Alajuelense in Costa Rica and with the Costa Rica National Team, so we like all of those qualities.”
Gonzalez joins the Black & Gold from Norwegian First Division side Vålerenga where he made 27 appearances and scored three goals over one and a half full seasons. In 2013, Gonzalez made 25 appearances – including 20 starts – and scored three goals in his second season in Norway. Prior to his departure for Norway, Gonzalez played with Alajuelense of Costa Rica’s Primera Division and made 57 regular-season appearances and scored six goals from 2009-2012 after joining the club for a portion of the club’s 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League run. During 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League play – Gonzalez’s second experience in the tournament – he made six appearances, including an August 25, 2011 Group A match in Carson, California against the LA Galaxy (a 2-0 Galaxy win) and starting defender – and now Crew boss – Gregg Berhalter.
Internationally, Gonzalez has earned 31 total caps for Costa Rica dating back to his debut against Peru in a friendly on October 9, 2010. In total, Gonzalez has scored two goals for his country, including a tally in the May 25, 2012 friendly against Guatemela and the game-winning goal to secure Costa Rica’s Copa Centroamericana 1-0 win over Honduras alongside Crew forward and fellow countryman Jairo Arrieta on January 27, 2013. Across his 31 caps, Gonzalez has seen time in 10 friendlies, three CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, four Copa Centroamerica tilts and 14 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. He started in both 2013 FIFA World Cup Qualifier matches against the United States in 2013 (March 27 and September 7) and most recently started in the 2-1 win for Los Ticos over Mexico on October 16, 2013. Gonzalez also represented his country on two occasions at the Under-20 level.
Gonzalez is the latest Black & Gold signing as the club continues its second preseason trip in Florida. MLS clubs are required to be capped at 30 players by the League’s roster compliance day of March 1, 2014.
Before the Crew begins the 2014 season at D.C. United on Saturday, March 8, the team continues its preseason preparations. For more information on catching the Black & Gold in 2014 – visit TheCrew.com/tickets. Single-match tickets for all Crew regular-season home games in 2014 are now on sale.
TRANSACTION: Crew signs Giancarlo Gonzalez as a Discovery Signing on February 21, 2014.
Name: Giancarlo Gonzalez
Pronunciation: JEE-anne-carlo Gonzalez
Born: February 8, 1988 in San Jose, Costa Rica
Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica
Citizenship: Costa Rica
Acquired: Signed as a Discovery Signing on February 21, 2014
Previous Experience: Vålerenga (2012-2013), Alajuelense (2008-2012)