Crew agree to deal to send midfielder Aidan Morris to Middlesbrough

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Crew midfielder who came through the team’s academy to help Columbus capture two MLS cups is moving to an English club.

Sources confirmed to NBC4’s Whitney Harding that the Crew has agreed to a deal that sends midfielder Aidan Morris to Middlesbrough, who currently play in England’s second-tier league the EFL Championship. Financial details and a timetable on when Morris would go to Middlesbrough are not known at this time. MLS’ secondary transfer window opens on July 18.

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Morris was recruited to the Columbus Crew’s academy in 2017 before attending Indiana to play college soccer. The 22-year-old from Fort Lauderdale signed with the Black & Gold in 2020 and became a fan favorite after stepping in on the biggest stage.

At the age of 19, Morris was called in to start the 2020 MLS Cup Final in place of Darlington Nagbe, who was absent due to entering COVID-19 protocols. He remains the youngest player to ever start an MLS Cup final and played a big role in holding the Seattle Sounders scoreless in the 3-0 triumph at Historic Crew Stadium.

After a season-ending injury in early 2021, Morris became a regular starter alongside Nagbe in the Crew’s midfield in 2022. Last season, he was named to his first MLS All-Star team and helped Columbus win its second MLS Cup in four seasons after a 2-1 win over Los Angeles FC at Field.

Morris’ performances have also earned him five caps for the United States national team as he is likely to be named to the U.S. Olympic squad going to Paris this summer. He is also not going to be the first former Black & Gold star to suit up for Boro. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen played for the English side in the 2022-23 season during a loan spell from Manchester City.

Middlesbrough has been stuck in the EFL Championship for the past eight years. Boro last played in the Premier League in the 2016-17 season and finished 19th to be relegated. The team has not stayed in the EPL for two straight seasons since 2007-08 to 2008-09.

The club announced on Tuesday they signed French midfielder Dylan Chambost from AS Saint-Etienne. The 26-year-old from Annecy primarily played as an attacking midfielder but has stepped in to play a deeper midfield role or on the wings.

Columbus returns to the pitch on Friday when they take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. This is the Crew’s first game since falling 3-0 to Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions Cup final on June 1. The Black & Gold enter Friday’s game in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.

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