COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced that it has signed European veteran defender Emanuel Pogatetz (pronounced: POH-gah-tetz) as a Discovery Signing. Per club and MLS policy, additional details of the deal were not disclosed. Pogatetz has agreed to terms with the Crew and will be added to the club’s roster immediately pending receipt of his P-1 Visa.
“We think Emanuel is a great addition to the roster,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “He’s a highly experienced defender and a captain of his National Team with over 60 appearances for Austria. Emanuel comes to us with Bundesliga and Premiership experience, and he’s accomplished at the highest levels of the game. He's very good in the air and a strong tackler that can possess and pass the ball well. He fits right into what we're doing and he’s a person who can affect the culture of our club with his experience, attitude and mentality.”
Since making his professional debut in 2000, Pogatetz has recorded more than 300 league appearances in topflight competitions across the world, including more than 115 matches in both England’s Barclays Premier League and the German Bundesliga. Coupled with time with Austrian and Russian first division clubs, Pogatetz’s experience has earned him international attention through 61 caps for the Austrian National Team, including action in 22 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Pogatetz began his senior career with Austrian side FC Kärnten, making 33 appearances for the First League side that won the title and promotion to the Austrian Bundesliga. He moved to German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen on July 1, 2001 alongside Columbus Crew legend Frankie Hejduk. Pogatetz played 26 matches for the German club's reserves that season before going on-loan from Bayer Leverkusen to Swiss club FC Aarau during the 2002-2003 campaign, where he made 21 appearances and scored his first professional goal. During the 2004-2005 season, Pogatetz was loaned again by Bayer Levekusen to Grazer AK in Austria on July 1, 2003, making 53 appearances over one-and-a-half seasons with the club. After loans to Grazer AK and Spartak Moscow, he was transferred to English side Middlesbrough permanently on July 1, 2005.
The defender made 25 Premiership appearances over the course of his first season in England, scoring his first Barclays Premier League goal on January 1, 2006 against Sunderland. Pogatetz suffered a broken nose, jaw and cheekbone on March 30, 2006 in a UEFA Cup match that ended his season early, but after returning from his injury, he played in Middlesbrough's Barclays Premier League opening match against Reading on August 19, 2006 and made 35 appearances in the English topflight in 2006-2007, scoring two goals. His efforts helped Middlesbrough improve on its 14th-place finish as the club ended the season 12th in the Premiership. During the 2008-2009 campaign, Pogatetz became full-time captain of Middlesbrough after wearing the armband on a part-time basis at the end of the previous season. He made 27 BPL appearances for Boro and four additional appearances in the FA Cup, his first appearances in that tournament. He notched his fourth career Barclays Premier League goal on November 22, 2008 against Bolton Wanderers.
Pogatetz’s return to the German Bundesliga came in 2010 as he signed with Hannover 96. Pogatetz made his German topflight debut on August 21, 2010 against Eintracht Frankfurt. All told, the defender made 28 league appearances in his first season, as Hannover finished fourth in the Bundesliga table and earned direct qualification to the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League playoff round. In his second season in Hannover, he made 29 league appearances and scored his first career Bundesliga goal on October 29, 2011 against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The defender made an additional 12 appearances in the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League, helping Die Roten edge Sevilla in the playoff round before advancing out of the Group Stage and making it to the Quarterfinals, where the club fell to Atletico Madrid.
In a move within the Bundesliga to rival Wolfsburg for the 2012-2013 season, Pogatetz made his debut for the fellow Lower Saxony-based club on August 25, 2012 versus Stuttgart. He made eight league appearances for Die Wölfe before returning to the Barclays Premier League on loan with West Ham United on January 28, 2003. The defender made six appearances for the Hammers during his brief spell in East London. He moved to Nürnberg after his loan for West Ham United expired, making 23 appearances for his third Bundesliga club, scoring his second career German goal against SC Freiburg.
While representing his native Austria, Pogatetz’s first of 61 caps in a National Team shirt came on May 18, 2002 against Germany. He featured on the Austrian side that served as co-host for the 2008 UEFA European Championships, playing all three group stage matches. Pogatetz has also played in 22 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, including nine of Austria's 10 qualifiers leading-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He has scored two international goals all-time, with the first coming in qualifying for the 2004 UEFA European Championships against the Netherlands, and the second coming in a 2008 international friendly against Italy.
TRANSACTION: The Columbus Crew acquires defender Emanuel Pogatetz as a Discovery Signing. Pogatetz has agreed to terms with the Crew and will be added to the club’s roster immediately pending receipt of his P-1 Visa.
Name: Emanuel Pogatetz
Pronunciation: Ee-MAN-yoo-el POH-gah-tetz
Born: January 16, 1983 in Graz, Austria
Hometown: Graz, Austria
Acquired: Signed as a Discovery Signing on September 9, 2014
Previous Experience: 1. FC Nürnberg (2013-2014), West Ham United (2013), VfL Wolfsburg (2012-2013), Hannover 96 (2010-2012), Middlesbrough (2005-2010), Spartak Moscow (2005), Grazer AK (2003-2004), FC Aarau (2002-2003), Bayer Leverkusen II (2001-2002), FC Kärnten (2000-2001)