It seems like just yesterday Aaron Horton was scoring goals for the Pioneers at Olentangy Orange.
As of today, though, you’ll be able to see him score goals for the Columbus Crew, which announced Tuesday that it has signed Horton to a multi-year deal (per club and league policy no further terms of the deal were disclosed).
Horton, who was a product of the Crew Soccer Academy in addition to the season he spent as a senior at Orange, spent last season at the University of Louisville, where he played a pivotal role in helping the Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Men’s College Cup for the first time in school history. They finished as the national runner-up. He spent the 2009-10 season with CSA and was a member of the Crew’s 2010 USL Super 20s National Championship team last summer, where he was named tournament MVP.
“I’m ecstatic, it’s a dream come true to sign with the club I grew up following and rooting for,” Horton said. “I’ve been going to games at Crew Stadium since I was a kid, then played in the club’s youth development program and (former Crew star) Brian Maisonneuve was my coach in (U.S. National Team U17) residency. Jeff Cunningham was my favorite player when I was a kid and to be his teammate now blows my mind.”
In his one season at Louisville, the 5-9, 165-pound Horton, who turns 19 on Thursday, appeared in 23 games, scored three goals and added two assists. Two of the goals were dramatic game-winners in high-pressure situations. He came through when the stakes were highest, scoring in the final minute of both a 5-4 quarterfinal victory over UCLA and a 2-1 semifinal win over North Carolina, to send the Cards to the College Cup final, where they fell to Akron.
At Orange, Horton broke the school record for goals in a season with 30 and was named first-team all-state as a senior in 2009, after spending a year as a member of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., in 2007.
“We are excited to welcome Aaron to our first team,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “He is a very promising young player, who holds the ball well and has the speed to get behind defenses. He is a competitor and we look forward to accelerating his development in a professional environment.”
Horton becomes the fifth local product to sign with the Crew, joining Eric Brunner (Dublin), Chris Leitch (Pickerington), Danny O’Rourke (Worthington) and Brandon Ward (Westerville).