Crew SC acquires dynamic foward Kekuta Manneh in trade with Vancouver

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COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that the club has acquired forward Kekuta Manneh (pronounced: keh-KOO-tuh MAH-NAY) from Vancouver Whitecaps FC in exchange for midfielder Tony Tchani, $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money.

Additionally, in the event Crew SC signs Manneh, who is in the last year of his contract, to a new contract, then Vancouver will also receive Columbus’ natural first round MLS SuperDraft selection in the immediately following draft. Furthermore, Whitecaps FC will receive additional General Allocation Money if Manneh is traded by Columbus prior to December 31, 2018 and Vancouver will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if the player is transferred outside of MLS. Manneh, 22, is in his fifth Major League Soccer season and has made 101 regular-season appearances (62 starts) while scoring 22 goals and providing 12 assists.

Per Opta, since joining MLS ahead of the 2013 season, only three other players have scored more goals from fast breaks than Manneh’s four goals. Additionally, Manneh has completed the seventh highest number of dribbles (155) since the beginning of the 2013 MLS season. The 22-year-old was drafted fourth overall by Vancouver in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. That same year, during his rookie season, the forward made 20 appearances (six starts), recording six goals and two assists. 2013 also saw Manneh become the youngest player (18 years, 283 days) to score a hat trick in MLS, as he scored three goals in the first 53 minutes of a 4-1 victory over Seattle (October 10, 2013).

“First and foremost we would like to thank Tony Tchani for his significant contribution to the club throughout his time here,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Tony has been a consummate professional and we wish him all the best moving forward.”

Continued Berhalter: “We take pride in our identity as an attacking team, so we are excited to announce the addition of Kekuta Manneh, one of the most dynamic, young, offensive players in Major League Soccer and a new addition to the U.S. Soccer National Team program. Kekuta complements the existing corps of attacking players on our roster and we expect him to play an important role with the club this season.”

Manneh followed up his rookie season by making 29 appearances (13 starts) in 2014, registering four goals and two assists. In 2015, Manneh helped Vancouver win the 2015 Amway Canadian Championship while setting a career best in appearances (32), starts (28), goals (seven) and assists (six). He began the 2016 MLS season in similar form, tallying five goals and two assists through 17 appearances (13 starts), but suffered an injury during a 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids on July 10 that forced him to miss the remainder of 2016.

Prior to his time in Vancouver, Manneh spent the 2009-2010 season with Steve Biko FC of Gambia’s First Division, scoring 17 goals in 12 matches. In 2012, he played for the Austin Aztex of the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (USL PDL). While with Austin, Manneh made 12 appearances (10 starts) during the regular season, scoring seven goals.

At the international level, Manneh was a member of the Gambia Under-20 National Team. On January of 2017, after earning his U.S. citizenship, Manneh was called into the U.S. National Team camp in California by Head Coach Bruce Arena.

Tchani made 130 appearances (112 starts) in his tenure with Crew SC after joining the club in July 15, 2011. He was acquired by the club in a trade with Toronto FC in exchange for defender Andy Iro and midfielder Leandre Griffit. During his time with the Black & Gold, Tchani scored eight goals and recorded 18 assists. The 2014 MLS season saw the midfielder set a career best in appearances, as he made 33 appearances (all starts). Tchani had a banner year in 2015, scoring five goals and notching six assists while helping the club reach MLS Cup. Last season, Tchani made 21 appearances (20 starts) while recording one goal and three assists.

This weekend, Crew SC hosts Orlando City SC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, April 1, 2017 in the first of three regular-season meetings between the clubs this year (4 p.m. ET / Unimas, Univision Deportes Facebook Page, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).

TRANSACTION

Columbus Crew SC acquires forward Kekuta Manneh from Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for midfielder Tony Tchani, $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money on March 30, 2017. Additionally, in the event Crew SC signs Manneh, who is in the last year of his contract, to a new contract, then Vancouver will also receive Columbus’ natural first round MLS SuperDraft selection in the immediately following draft. Furthermore, Whitecaps FC will receive additional General Allocation Money if Manneh is traded by Columbus prior to December 31, 2018 and Vancouver will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if the player is transferred outside of MLS.

Name: Kekuta Manneh (pronounced: keh-KOO-tuh MAH-NAY)
Position: Forward
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 140
Born: December 30, 1994 in Bakau, Gambia
Hometown: Madiba Kunda, Gambia
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Acquired by Crew SC from Vancouver Whitecaps FC in exchange for midfielder Tony Tchani, $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money on March 30, 2017. Additionally, in the event Crew SC signs Manneh, who is in the last year of his contract, to a new contract, then Vancouver will also receive Columbus’ natural first round MLS SuperDraft selection in the immediately following draft. Furthermore, Whitecaps FC will receive additional General Allocation Money if Manneh is traded by Columbus prior to December 31, 2018 and Vancouver will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if the player is transferred outside of MLS.
Previous Experience: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2013-2017), Austin Aztex (2012), Steve Biko FC (2009-2010)

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