Columbus Crew SC announced two transactions Wednesday, acquiring USMNT youth product Abuchi Obinwa and Panamanian midfielder Cristian Martinez. The 20-year-old Obinwa joins the team after playing for German side Hannover 96’s reserves last year. Meanwhile, Martinez’s signing is a permanent transfer after his loan spell with the club last season.
“We are excited to work with Abuchi and Cristian this year as they continue to develop as young players with potential,” head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter mentioned. “We look forward to tracking their progress in their first preseason camps with us.”
NEWS: #CrewSC has signed MF Abuchi Obinwa & acquired Cristian Martinez on a permanent transfer from Chorillo FC.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) January 25, 2017
Columbus Crew SC Signs Abuchi Obinwa, Acquires Cristian Martinez on Permanent Transfer
Obinwa is a Columbus native and has been teammates with current Crew SC Homegrown Ben Swanson at youth level for the US. The two played for the US U-18 team in the 20th Lisbon International Tournament back in 2014. Obinwa appeared in all three group stage matches.
Prior to his time with Hannover, Obinwa played for Chicago Magic PSG, an affiliate of famous French side Paris Saint-Germain. In 2013, he took part in training with the club’s youth academy in Paris. That same year, he was named U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s U-15/U-16 Central Conference Player of the Year.
Columbus initially acquired Martinez on loan from Panamanian club Chorillo FC on May 17, 2016. The 19-year-old made his first start against the Philadelphia Union on June 1. In that game, he became the youngest player in club history to score a goal in regular season play. Across all competitions, Martinez made seven appearances, including four starts.
Martinez will occupy an international roster spot.
Crew SC is currently in São Paulo, Brazil for the first preseason camp of the season which runs until February 9th. From there, the club will return to central Ohio for a brief camp at Superkick in Powell, OH from February 13-15. The preseason concludes with the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, SC.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Crew SC Communications.