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Columbus Crew signs free agent defender Jalil Anibaba

He will join the Crew for the 2022 season with an option for 2023.
Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
Nashville defender Jalil Anibaba passes the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer match against Inter Miami, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Crew announced it has signed free agent defender Jalil Anibaba.

He will join the Crew for the 2022 season with an option for 2023.

“Jalil is a veteran player with more than a decade of experience in MLS, and his addition to our roster will help bolster the backline,” said Columbus Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Jalil is a leader on and off the field, and we’re pleased that a player with the breadth of his experience in MLS chose to sign with the Crew, and we look forward to having him join our team.”

Anibaba has started 214 of 240 regular-season matches scoring seven goals and 14 assists.

He most recently spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons with Nashville SC.

Crew players are set to report for physicals and testing on Jan. 16 before departing for training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida through Jan. 28.

The team will train at Historic Crew Stadium in early February before traveling to Charleston, South Carolina.

Columbus is set to open the 2022 Major League Soccer season against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Lower.com Field on Feb. 26. 

Following the opener, the Crew hit the road and travels to San Jose to face the Earthquakes on March 5.

For the 2022 season, all teams will play a 34-game regular-season schedule - 17 home games, 17 road games - facing each of their conference opponents two times and playing eight non-conference opponents once.

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