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By ESPN Staff
Jan 11, 2006

Crew acquire Chilean defender Marcos Gonzalez

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Crew announced the signings of Chilean central defender Marcos Gonzalez and British defender Joel Kitamirike.

Both deals are pending approval of their work permits. Per team and league policy, no terms of the deals were disclosed. Gonzalez, 25, will be classified as a senior international and Kitamirike, 21, a youth international.

Gonzalez is a 6-2 central defender who will be looked at to replace the retired Robin Fraser. He has made five full appearances with the Chilean national team, and has played in the Chilean First Division (Palestino, 2005; Universidad de Chile, 1999-2003) and the Argentine First Division (Colon de Santa Fe, 2003-2005).

"We are very excited to sign Marcos," said Schmid. "He was heavily pursued by Universidad Catolica as their primary target for the upcoming Copa Libertadores but chose to join The Crew. We were looking for a central defender to replace Robin (Fraser) and to continue to help with the development of Chad Marshall and we found that in Gonazalez. He has some great experience but is a young player who should have many good years ahead of him in this league."

Kitamirike, 6-0, was born in Uganda but moved to England when he was four and was in the Chelsea youth system from 2001-2004. He played with Dundee of the Scottish First Division from 2004-2005.

"Joel is a versatile defender who was here for our mini-camp in November," said Schmid. "He can play centrally or on the right and is a young player with great potential."

"One of our key philosophies to being consistently competitive in MLS is to make the most out of our international roster positions, particularly our senior international positions," said McCullers. "There is no doubt that our international options have increased dramatically because of our scouting and because of the management of our resources. Our coaches did a masterful job maneuvering to acquire these two players in the midst of stiff competition and within our financial parameters."