COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has acquired midfielder Justin Meram from Orlando City SC in exchange for $750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster slot for the 2019 MLS season. Prior to his time with Orlando City, Meram played for the Black & Gold from 2011-2017, making 188 regular-season appearances (134 starts) while becoming one of only five players in club history to register at least 30 goals and 30 assists for Crew SC.
Over the course of his first seven years in Columbus, Meram rose to join the club’s all-time leaders in several regular-season categories, including: third in game-winning goals (13); fifth in appearances (188); fifth in shots (321) and shots on goal (121); tied for 10th in starts (134); sixth in goals (37); and seventh in assists (33).
"We are pleased to welcome Justin back to Crew SC," said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. "He has proven to be one of the League's elite attacking players over the past few years as he helped establish our Club's style of play and define our wide attacking midfield profile. He complements our current attacking corps and understands our environment, so we are confident he will adapt quickly and make our team better as we aim to qualify for the postseason. He has already left a distinct mark in our Club's history and we look forward to the next chapter.”
The 29-year-old spent the first part of the 2018 MLS regular season with Orlando City SC, making 17 regular-season appearances (14 starts), while recording one goal and three assists. Meram returns to the Black & Gold, who selected the midfielder with the fifth overall pick in the First Round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on January 13, 2011. Meram went on to make 17 regular-season appearances (four starts) and provide two assists in 2011, his rookie year. Meram followed that up by making 22 regular-season appearances (11 starts) in 2012, recording four goals and one assist. In 2013, the midfielder made 19 regular-season appearances (nine starts), tallying one goal and one assist.
Meram had a breakout campaign under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter in 2014, a season in which he tallied eight goals and seven assists in 32 regular-season appearances (19 starts). In 2015, he scored six goals and provided five assists, helping Crew SC reach the playoffs. The Michigan native played a pivotal role in the Black & Gold’s run to the MLS Cup as he started in all five of the team’s MLS Cup Playoff matches. On November 22, 2015, his goal against the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship became the fastest goal in MLS postseason history (nine seconds).
2016 saw Meram make 33 regular-season appearances (31 starts) while recording five goals and 13 assists – a career-best mark that included two game-winning assists. In October of that year, Meram was named the Etihad Airwaves MLS Player of the Month, before being named Crew SC’s 2016 MVP. Last season, Meram made 34 regular-season appearances (32 starts) while tallying seven assists and scoring a career-high 13 goals, including recording his first career hat trick came in a 3-2 road win over the Montreal Impact on May 13, 2017. The hat trick against Montreal made him just the fifth Crew SC player in history to record 30 career-goals and 30 career-assists. Additionally, during the 2017 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, Meram made five appearances (all starts) at left midfield, registering one goal and one assist.
At the international level, Meram has earned 26 caps with the Iraq National Team, making his debut in the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations’ opening match against Kuwait on November 14. The midfielder scored his first goal with the Lions of Mesopotamia during a 5-1 home victory over Chinese Taipei in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on September 3, 2015, converting a penalty kick in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
Up next for the Black & Gold is a home match against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Aug. 11, at MAPFRE Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET / CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, English and Spanish audio broadcasts available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC acquires midfielder Justin Meram from Orlando City SC in exchange for 750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster slot for the 2019 MLS season on August 3, 2018.
Name: Justin Meram
Born: December 4, 1988 in Shelby Township, MI
Hometown: Shelby Township, MI
Citizenship: United States, Iraq
Acquired: Acquired by Crew SC from Orlando City SC in exchange for $750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster slot for the 2019 MLS season
Previous Experience: Orlando City SC (2018), Columbus Crew SC (2011-2017)