Captain Columbus is staying with the Crew. The club announced this morning that team captain Darlington Nagbe has signed a contract extension through the 2025 season.
I think this is a very good move because it keeps together one of the league’s best midfield combinations (along with Aidan Morris) and maintains continuity of strong veteran leadership. Nagbe’s leadership on a club as young as the Crew is invaluable. President and GM Tim Bezbatchenko said this in the club’s release to announce the signing,
"It’s hard to put into words what Darlington means to this club. He is a proven winner and difference-maker who has consistently shown why he is one of the most respected players in MLS for his leadership, character, and his performance on the pitch and how he carries himself off it."
I’d Say He Is
Saying Nagbe is a proven winner is an understatement. He’s won three MLS Cups-2015 with Portland, 2018 with Atlanta United (where he started the final in midfield with current Crew teammate Julain Gressel), and 2020 with the Crew. He also helped lead the University of Akron to a national championship in 2010. Nagbe is the definition of a proven winner.
His Decision Was Easy
Deciding to stay with the Crew was not a difficult decision for Nagbe. He has lived in Ohio since coming here as an 11-year-old with his family in 2001. The 13-year MLS veteran is also excited about where the team appears to be headed. He summed up all of it when talking to the Columbus Dispatch,
"For me, it’s home. Not just for myself, but my wife as well, my family. The direction that the club is heading in, I’m just thankful and grateful that they want me to be a part of it."
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself because the Crew is still in the middle of battling for an MLS Cup but having Nagbe in the fold before the end of the 2023 season puts in place a big puzzle piece for next year.