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Crew SC adds Milton Valenzuela as Young Designated Player

COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that the club has signed defender Milton Valenzuela on loan as a Young Designated Player from Argentina First Division side Newell’s Old Boys, with the option to purchase his contract at the end of the 2018 Major League Soccer season.

Crew SC will utilize Targeted Allocation Money on Jonathan Mensah this season after Mensah was a Designated Player last season, thus enabling Crew SC to bring in Valenzuela as the team’s third Designated Player, with Federico Higuain and Pedro Santos to round-out the club’s three Designated Player status slots.

BIOGRAPHY | Q&A | YOUNG DP EXPLAINED

Valenzuela, the 19-year-old defender, has featured for Argentina’s Under-20 National Team and most recently participated in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Valenzuela will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa and will occupy an international roster slot on Crew SC’s roster.

“Milton is a talented, young player who has a high pedigree at both the professional and youth international level,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “His skillset has allowed him to gain critical experience playing in one of the continent’s most competitive leagues while featuring prominently for Argentina’s Under-20 National Team. Milton has the character and determination to succeed in MLS and we are excited to welcome him to Columbus Crew SC, where we expect him to make an immediate impact.”

Valenzuela is a product of Newell’s Old Boys youth academy, which he joined at the age of 14. The defender made his debut with the club’s first team as a substitute in a home match against Club Atletico de San Martin on February 6, 2016. Valenzuela was officially promoted to Newell’s Old Boys first team on July 1, 2016 and made three appearances (three starts) during the 2016-2017 season. During the first part of the 2017-2018 season, the 19-year-old made nine appearances (seven starts). In all, Valenzuela made 13 appearances (10 starts) for Newell’s Old Boys in the Primera Division. The Rosario native also made two appearances (both starts) for the club in Copa Argentina, Argentina’s domestic cup.

At the international level, Valenzuela has featured for Argentina’s Under-20 squad, earning 10 caps (nine starts). The defender featured in eight of Argentina’s nine matches at the 2017 South American Youth Football Championship, making seven starts while helping Argentina qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea. Valenzuela also made two appearances (all starts) in the group stage of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

FAST FACTS

► Milton Valenzuela is a product of Newell’s Old Boys renowned youth academy, which fellow teammate and compatriot Gaston Sauro also attended.
► He has made 15 appearances (12 starts) for Newell’s Old Boys, including two appearances (both starts) in Copa Argentina.
► The defender made his debut for Newell’s Old Boys first team in 2016 at the age of 17 during a match against Club Atletico de San Martin on February 6, 2016.

► Valenzuela has played for Argentina’s Under-20 national team, making two appearances (two starts) at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea.
► He played alongside Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco for Argentina’s U-20 side in the 2017 South American Youth Football Championship, where he made nine appearances (eight starts).

Under Berhalter, the club trains in Casa Grande, Arizona for its preseason camp from January 26 to February 6. From there, Crew SC will be in Hawaii for the inaugural Pacific Rim Cup from February 6-11. During the window of February 15-25, the club will be in Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup.

With the addition of Valenzuela, Crew SC's current 2018 roster – listed alphabetically below – now stands at 25 players:

Goalkeepers (3): Jon Kempin, Logan Ketterer, Zack Steffen
Defenders (8): Lalas Abubakar, Harrison Afful, Alex Crognale, Connor Maloney, Jonathan Mensah, Gaston Sauro, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams 
Midfielders (11): Mohammed Abu, Artur, Niko Hansen, Federico Higuain, Mike Grella, Hector Jimenez, Cristian Martinez, Justin Meram, Pedro Santos, Eduardo Sosa, Wil Trapp
Forwards (3): Adam Jahn, Edward Opoku, Gyasi Zardes

TRANSACTION

Columbus Crew SC signs defender Milton Valenzuela on loan as a Young Designated Player from Newell’s Old Boys on January 26, 2018, with the option to purchase his contract at the end of the 2018 Major League Soccer season. 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. Crew SC will utilize Targeted Allocation Money on Jonathan Mensah this season after Mensah was a Designated Player last season, thus enabling Crew SC to bring in Valenzuela as the team’s third Designated Player, with Federico Higuain and Pedro Santos to round-out the club’s three Designated Player status slots.

Name: Milton Valenzuela (VAH-len-SWAY-la)
Position: Defender
Height: 5’6”
Weight: 145
Born: August 13, 1998 in Rosario, Argentina
Hometown: Rosario, Argentina
Citizenship: Argentina
Acquired: Signed by Crew SC on loan as a Young Designated Player from Newell’s Old Boys on January 26, 2018, with the option to purchase his contract at the end of the 2018 Major League Soccer season. He will occupy an international roster slot on Crew SC’s roster.
Previous Experience: Newell’s Old Boys (2016-2017)