Crew’s Lucas Zelarayan is named MLS newcomer of the year

Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan (10) reacts after scoring a goal during an MLS soccer match against FC Cincinnati, Saturday, July 11, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan of the Columbus Crew has been named the Major League Soccer newcomer of the year, the league announced Friday afternoon.

The award is given to the best player in his first MLS season who has previously played elsewhere, and it is voted on by players, front-office staffs and media members.

Zelarayan has appeared in 16 games this season, with six goals and four assists. The 28-year-old from Argentina was signed by the Crew in December as a designated player from Tigres of Mexico’s Liga MX. Also on Friday, MLS announced that Zelarayan’s jersey is the 23rd highest-selling among players in the league.

“It is never easy to arrive to a new league, let alone in a year that was heavily impacted by factors beyond our control, but Lucas has shown his desire to stand out from the very first day he arrived,” said team president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko.

Zelarayan is in the first of what has been reported as three-year contract, with an option for a fourth year.

The Crew next plays Saturday, Nov. 21 in its playoff opener against the New York Red Bulls. The game at Mapfre Stadium will begin at 3 p.m.

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