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Kirby Hines / ColumbusCrewSC.com

Core of 2014 MLS Cup Playoff team to return as Crew SC exercises options on contracts of 16 players

Columbus Crew Soccer Club confirmed today that the core of its 2014 MLS Cup Playoff side is set to return in 2015 as the club announced that it has exercised the contract options on 16 players from its 2014 roster, while seven others were already under contract for next season, giving the club a roster that currently features 23 players.

The club picked-up the options of goalkeepers Steve Clark, Matt Lampson and Brad Stuver; defenders Chad Barson, Waylon Francis, Ben Sweat, Tyson Wahl and Josh Williams; midfielders Romain Gall, Kevan George, Hector Jimenez, Ben Speas, Tony Tchani and Designated Player Federico Higuain; and forwards Adam Bedell and Aaron Schoenfeld.

Crew SC previously announced 2015 roster addition signings of Homegrown Player midfielder Ben Swanson, forward Kei Kamara and most recently, midfielder Mohammed Saeid.

The Black & Gold simultaneously announced that they have declined the contract options of defenders Matt Wiet and Ross Friedman; midfielders Kingsley “Fifi” Baiden, Daniel Paladini, Agustin Viana and Matt Walker; and forward Jairo Arrieta. Baiden, Friedman, Viana, Walker and Wiet are eligible for the MLS Waiver Draft, taking place on Wednesday, December 10. Arrieta and Paladini are eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Process, which begins with Phase 1 on Friday, December 12. A full list of players eligible for the Waiver Draft and Re-Entry Process will be announced by MLS at a later date.

“Moving forward to 2015, we are excited to keep the core group of the team together and we look forward to our new additions to make an even stronger group next season,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “In terms of the players we let go, those are always tough decisions, but we’d like to thank all the players for their contributions throughout the year and we continue to offer help as they pursue their careers in professional soccer.”

Defender Eric Gehrig and midfielders Bernardo Anor and Justin Meram are out of contract. Crew SC is currently in discussions with all three players, and future roster announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

Crew SC’s current 2015 roster follows:

Goalkeepers (3): Steve Clark, Matt Lampson, Brad Stuver

Defenders (7): Chad Barson, Waylon Francis, Michael Parkhurst, Emanuel Pogatetz, Ben Sweat, Tyson Wahl, Josh Williams

Midfielders (10): Romain Gall, Kevan George, Hector Jimenez, Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Mohammed Saeid, Ben Speas, Ben Swanson, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp

Forwards (3): Adam Bedell, Kei Kamara, Aaron Schoenfeld

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