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COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has acquired 26-year-old Ghanaian international defender Jonathan Mensah (pronounced: Men-SAH), who joins Crew SC as a Designated Player via a Discovery Signing. Mensah is a two-time FIFA World Cup veteran who has earned 51 caps for the Ghana National Team and he most recently plied his trade with Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia’s topflight, the Russian Football Premier League.
Along with Federico Higuain, Crew SC now has two Designated Players on its roster with Mensah becoming Crew SC's fifth-ever Designated Player. Mensah will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa, also occupying an international roster spot.
Mensah joins the Black & Gold with prior experience that also includes playing for FC Evian in Ligue 1 of France, Granada CF in Spain’s Second Division - helping the team return to the First Division - and Free State Stars in the First Division of Ghana. To date, he has made 127 appearances (111 starts) at the club level, including appearances in the Russian Cup, the Coupe de France, France’s Coupe de la Ligue, and MTN8 – Ghana’s Domestic Cup. In 2014, Mensah started in every group stage match of Ghana’s World Cup campaign. He featured for Ghana in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, making two starting appearances in the group stage and starting in a Round of 16 contest against the United States, helping the Black Stars reach the quarterfinals. Mensah also had a pivotal role in Ghana’s run to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Final, playing every minute of every match including 120 minutes in the tournament’s final.
Opening Match: Crew SC hosts Chicago Fire on March 4
“We are pleased to announce the signing of central defender Jonathan Mensah as a Designated Player,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Jonathan is a physically dominant central defender who at a young age has already proven himself on the world’s biggest stage. We look forward to him making an immediate impact in Columbus.”
During his time at Anzhi Mackhachkala in Russia, Mensah made 19 appearances (16 starts) for the club, providing one assist. The Ashanti Gold product’s professional career began in 2008 with the Free State Stars of Ghana’s Premier League. In two seasons, he made 39 regular-season appearances – all starts – and scored one goal, while also making one starting appearance in the Domestic Cup.
Following his time with the Free State Stars, Mensah joined Serie A side Udinese, where he was sent on a season-long loan deal to Granada CF. There he made 19 appearances (12 starts) for Granada CF in Spain’s Segunda Division, scoring one goal. Mensah helped the club finish in fifth place and eventually earn promotion, allowing Granada CF to return to the First Division for the first time in 35 years. The defender then signed with French side FC Evian, where he spent five seasons, four of which were spent in Ligue 1. Mensah made 49 regular-season appearances (40 starts), and contributed two goals to the team. While playing for FC Evian, he also appeared in the Coupe de La Ligue and the Coupe de France, helping FC Evian reach the quarterfinals of the 2013-2014 Coupe de La Ligue.
“One of our offseason priorities was to sign a second Designated Player that has the ability to make an impact both on and off the field,” continued Berhalter. “With Jonathan's vast playing experience and strong character we believe he will fit into our club nicely. We are pleased that Jonathan chose Columbus as a place to continue his development. I want to thank Mr. Precourt for his support in making the transaction possible as we build a strong club for 2017 and beyond.”
Internationally, Mensah has 51 caps for Ghana. The defender made his debut for the Black Stars on March 3, 2010 in a friendly match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, coming on as a substitute. Since then, he has appeared in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. At the youth level, Mensah represented Ghana at the Under-20 level, helping the Black Stars win the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2009 African Youth Championship. Mensah is now the second Ghanaian international on the Crew SC roster, joining teammate Harrison Afful.
Under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, the 2017 MLS Preseason begins on Monday, January 23, 2017 after entrance physicals and testing. From there, the club departs to Sao Paulo, Brazil for its first preseason camp. Crew SC is slated to remain in Brazil through February 9 before returning to Columbus. The team will be in Central Ohio at SuperKick in Powell from February 8 – February 12 for the second camp of preseason. Following the time in Ohio, the club travels to Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2017 Carolina Challenge Cup. More information on Season Ticket Memberships for the 2017 season at MAPFRE Stadium is available at columbuscrewsc.com.
Columbus Crew SC acquires defender Jonathan Mensah (pronounced: Men-SAH) as a Designated Player via a Discovery Signing on January 3, 2017. He will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa, also occupying an international roster spot.
Name: Jonathan Mensah (pronounced: Men-SAH)
Born: July 13, 1990 in Accra, Ghana
Hometown: Prampram, Ghana
Acquired: Acquired as a Designated Player via a Discovery Signing on January 3, 2017.
Previous Experience: Anzhi Mackhachkala (2016), FC Evian (2011-2016), Granada CF (2010-2011), Free State Stars (2008-2009)