COLUMBUS, OhioThe MLS Cup-champion Columbus Crew announced Friday that it has signed midfielder Alex Grendi to a developmental contract. Per club and league policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed.
Grendi was selected by the Crew in the third round (No. 45 overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and has trained with the Black & Gold throughout the duration of its preseason camp. He has appeared in six of the club’s eight preseason matches and picked up a pair of assists.
“Alex wasn’t much of a known quantity going into the (MLS Player) Combine (in January), but he showed well there and has proven during the preseason that he can make a contribution,” said technical director Brian Bliss. “He’s making steady progress and adds depth at a couple of different positions in our attack.”
A native of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Grendi was a playmaker from the beginning, and goes in the Penn record book as such. His 20 career assists puts him in a tie for third all-time. More impressive is that, prior to his arrival, the top five marks were all set in the 1970s. He has led the Quakers in assists three of his four seasons and was twice named the team’s Offensive MVP. As a freshman, he was the team’s co-Most Valuable Freshman, and as a sophomore earned All-Ivy honors. Alex scored eight goals including four game-winners while wearing the Red and Blue.
In 2008, he was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection and was named to the NSCAA All-Northeast region third team.
He joins two recent Quakers to be drafted to the MLS. Goalkeeper Matt Haefner C’02 was selected in the sixth round of the 2002 MLS Superdraft, while fellow keeper Dan Cepero was taken in the 2007 Supplemental Draft. Cepero had a storybook season with Red Bull New York in 2008. After securing the starting role late in the season, Cepero helped the Red Bulls not only clinch a playoff berth, but battle through the postseason to the MLS Cup final where theyultimately lost to Grendi's new teammates, the Crew.
Founded by American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club, anchoring a diverse sports and entertainment enterprise. One of the league's Charter Members, it is currently the reigning MLS Cup Champion and it has also won the 2002 U.S. Open Cup championship and MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004 and 2008. It will open its 14th season and defense of its MLS Cup championship on Saturday, March 21, at the Houston Dynamo and will open its 11th season in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium on Saturday, March 28, against Toronto FC.