Crew SC adds defensive midfielder Abu from Norway's topflight

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that the club has acquired midfielder Mohammed Abu (pronounced: mo-HAHM-ed AH-boo) as a Special Discovery Player. Abu, 25, most recently played for Stromsgodset IF in Norway’s topflight. He will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa. Abu will occupy an international spot on the Black & Gold roster.

The 25-year-old midfielder has made 163 professional appearances (154 starts) across all competitions in Spain, France and Norway, scoring five goals and providing three assists. His previous experience includes playing for Stromsgodset IF in Norway’s Eliteserien, spending time in France’s First Division — Ligue 1 — with FC Lorient and featuring for Rayo Vallecano in La Liga — Spain’s topflight. The Ghanaian player also has experience in UEFA Champions League Qualifiers and UEFA Europa League Qualifiers. In 2011, while with Stromsgodset IF, he played against Atletico Madrid for 180 minutes over the course of two legs in an UEFA Europa League Qualifier.

“Mohammed is a talented, technical player that we believe will fit well into our system and style of play,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Across his experience in Norway, France and Spain, we believe that a combination of his experience, skillset and character will be a good fit for Crew SC. We are glad to have him in Columbus and it is certainly an added bonus that he is familiar with the area as his wife has lived in Central Ohio.”

In all, Abu made 152 appearances (144 starts), scored five goals and contributed three assists over the course of six seasons with Stromsgodset IF. The midfielder was originally signed by Manchester City in August of 2010, before being sent on loan to Stromsgodset IF. He made his debut with the Eliteserien team in a home match against Molde FK in September of that year. That same season, Abu helped Stromsgodset IF win the Norwegian Football Cup, Norway’s Domestic Cup. From 2010-2012, Abu played alongside current Crew SC teammate Ola Kamara.

The Ghanaian midfielder remained on loan with Stromsgodset IF through the 2012 season, after which he was sent on loan to Rayo Vallecano ahead of the 2012-2013 La Liga campaign. While playing for Rayo Vallecano, he appeared in two Fourth Round matches in the Copa del Rey, Spain’s Domestic Tournament. Halfway through the 2012-2013 season, Abu was loaned to FC Lorient of Ligue 1. His time in France included a 90-minute starting appearance in a Round of 16 victory against Stade Brest 29, en route to helping the club reach the semi-finals of the Coupe de France, France’s Domestic Cup.

Following his time with FC Lorient, Abu then joined Stromsgodset IF on a permanent basis ahead of the 2014 campaign. That year, he helped the Norwegian side finish the regular season in fourth-place, as well as reach the Third Round of the Norwegian Football Cup. Since 2014, Abu has started in every regular-season match he has made an appearance in, missing only eight regular-season matches over the same time period. 

At the international level, Abu has earned three caps for the Ghana National Team, making his debut in a 2-0 win against Sudan in an Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier on October 8, 2011. He was among those called up for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and made two appearances (one start) during the tournament, including starting for Ghana in the Third Place Match against Mali.

According to Major League Soccer's Roster Rules and Regulations, “for one player on a club’s roster (a “Special Discovery Player”), a club is able to amortize the total amount of acquisition costs (up to $500,000) over the term of the player’s contract.” Special Discovery Players must be 27-years-old or younger and there may be no more than one Special Discovery Player per number of clubs in the League. With the acquisition of Abu, Crew SC now has one Special Discovery Player on its roster.

Under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, the club is currently in 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 13 – February 15 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.

TRANSACTION

Crew SC acquires midfielder Mohammed Abu as a Special Discovery Player on January 24, 2017. He will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.

Name: Mohammed Abu (mo-HAHM-ed AH-boo)
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 150
Born: November 14, 1991 in Accra, Ghana
Hometown: Namasi, Ghana
Citizenship: Ghana
Acquired: Acquired as a Special Discovery Player on January 24, 2017.
Previous Experience: Stromsgodset IF (2014-2016), FC Lorient (2013), Rayo Vallecano (2012-13), Stromsgodset IF (2010-2012)

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