COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has signed midfielder and Designated Player Federico Higuain to a one-year, Designated Player contract extension through the 2018 Major League Soccer season.
Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Argentine midfielder is in his sixth season with the Black & Gold and recently set a new career high in regular-season assists with two matches remaining in the 2017 campaign.
Higuain, 32, has made 147 regular-season appearances (142 starts) for Crew SC and is one of only three players in club history to register at least 40 goals and 40 assists in regular-season action for the club, having tallied 48 goals and 46 assists. He is a two-time recipient of the Crew SC’s Most Valuable Player award, having won the honor in 2013 and 2014.
The Buenos Aires, Argentina, native has made 24 regular-season appearances (all starts) this year, registering nine goals and a career-high 11 assists. Four of Higuain’s helpers have been game-winning assists, and he currently leads the club in this category in 2017. Additionally, Crew SC has a regular-season record of 7-0-0 in matches in which Higuain has notched an assist in 2017. Per Opta, Higuain leads the Black & Gold in goal-scoring chances created in 2017 with 58 chances, while averaging 2.54 goal-scoring chances per 90 minutes.
“We are pleased to announce that Federico Higuain will be in Black & Gold as a Designated Player for the 2018 season,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Federico has been instrumental in establishing our style of play over the last four years and played a significant role in helping the club secure playoff berths in three of those four seasons. Federico’s professionalism, character and humility off the field coupled with his undeniable, difference-maker ability on the field, make him one of the greatest players ever to wear a Columbus Crew SC jersey.”
Higuain was signed by Crew SC as a Designated Player on July 27, 2012.
He made 13 regular-season appearances (11 starts) during his debut season in 2012, recording five goals and seven assists en route to winning the 2012 MLS Newcomer of the Year Award. In 2013, the midfielder registered a career-high 11 goals and nine assists in 29 regular-season appearances (all starts) which earned him the Black & Gold’s Most Valuable Player award for that year. The 2014 season saw Higuain make 29 regular-season appearances (28 starts) with his 11 goals and seven assists earning him both Crew SC’s Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player award.
Higuain followed up the success of the 2014 season by making 32 regular-season appearances (all starts) and recording eight goals and nine assists in 2015 while playing a key role in Crew SC’s run to MLS Cup.
“It’s a very important day, it’s a big day for me,” said Higuain. “It’s not easy to be away from my country, but here in Columbus my family and I have found a place to live and to, as I said in the beginning, be happy.
“I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this process in the time that I have been working for the club and say that I’m very happy.”
The Argentine midfielder is among Crew SC’s all-time leaders in multiple categories, including being the all-time leader in regular-season penalty kick goals (16); the all-time leader in regular-season corner kicks (593); being in second place all-time for the club in regular-season assists (46) and game-winning assists (15); and being in third place all-time for Crew SC in regular-season goals (48).
Additionally, Higuain is one of only seven players in Crew SC history to register three assists in a single match, having achieved the feat in a 3-2 home victory over the New York Red Bulls on September 23 of this year.
Higuain is a product of River Plate’s Academy, where he made his professional debut in 2003 at the age of 18. Prior to signing with Crew SC, Higuain played First Division soccer in Argentina with River Plate, Nueva Chicago, Independiente, Godoy Cruz and Colon de Santa Fe; in Turkey with Besiktas; and in Mexico with Club America.
Columbus Crew SC has officially clinched a spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, returning to the postseason for the third time in four seasons under Berhalter.
With two regular-season contests remaining, Crew SC is assured of finishing no lower than sixth place in the Eastern Conference by virtue of its win against D.C. United at MAPFRE Stadium on September 30. The win against D.C. United was the Black & Gold’s 12th regular-season home victory of 2017, setting a new club record for most regular-season wins at home.
Final postseason seeding will be determined in the coming weeks as the Black & Gold (15-12-5, 50 points) conclude the regular season along with all other MLS clubs.
Up next, Crew SC travels to take on Orlando City SC at Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, October 15, and in the regular-season finale on October 22 at New York City SC.
Columbus Crew SC signs midfielder Federico Higuain to a one-year contract extension through the 2018 Major League Soccer season as a Designated Player on October 3, 2017.