Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sporting KC acquires goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum


Sporting Kansas City has acquired goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum from the Columbus Crew in exchange for Sporting KC's second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, the club announced on Monday.

Gruenebaum has been added to Sporting Kansas City's roster and will occupy a senior roster spot.

"Andy is a very capable goalkeeper, someone who has been successful in Major League Soccer and has had a lot of games in the league," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "He is a great addition to our team and a complement to our goalkeepers. We needed someone with a lot of experience because we're in multiple major competitions in 2014."

"I could not be more excited to come back home and play in front of family and friends," Gruenebaum said. "The ownership, coaching staff, players and fans associated with Sporting KC are first class, and I look forward to working with two amazing goalkeepers to help win another championship. I would like to thank Peter and the rest of the organization for giving me this opportunity. My wife and I are ecstatic to be able to call Kansas City home once again."

Gruenebaum, 30, made 82 appearances in MLS competition (including playoffs) with 277 saves, 18 shutouts and a 1.27 goals against average in eight seasons with the Crew. He led MLS with 124 saves in 2012 and was a finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after being named the Crew's MVP and Defender of the Year. This season, he conceded the second fewest goals (28) among goalkeepers with a minimum of 15 games played.

In 2009, Gruenebaum entered the Columbus lineup and immediately led the team on an eight-game unbeaten run en route to the team's Supporters' Shield title. The following season, he helped the Crew reach the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final and started all six games in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League group stage as Columbus went unbeaten. He also started both of the team's matches in the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs.

An Overland Park, Kan. native, Gruenebaum was an All-American at Blue Valley North High School and was the Player of the Year in Kansas after leading the Mustangs to the state championship. He attended the University of Kentucky, where he recorded 21 shutouts in 66 collegiate games. Gruenebaum earned All-Conference and All-Region honors and picked up the nickname "The Hebrew Hammer."

Prior to his senior season, Gruenebaum starred for the Des Moines Menace in the Premier Development League and was named MVP of the 2005 PDL championship.

Gruenebaum becomes the seventh Kansas City native on Sporting KC's roster, along with Matt Besler, Christian Duke, Kevin Ellis, Jon Kempin, Erik Palmer-Brown and Seth Sinovic. He was a finalist for Player of the Year at the Kevin Gray Awards in 2013.