The Columbus Crew signed midfielder Federico Higuain to a new Designated Player contract, the largest in team history, the club announced on Monday morning.
The team said earlier in the offseason that it would pick up the 2015 option on Higuain's contract. Since joining the Crew on July 27, 2012, Higuain has scored 27 goals and recorded 23 assists, both team-leading marks. He has also won the team's Most Valuable Player award in each of his two full seasons, 2013 and 2014.
Coach Gregg Berhalter underscored Higuain's importance to the Crew's offense.
"Federico has proven to be on of the top talents in Major League Soccer and a key contributor to the attacking, possession-based brand of soccer that we are trying to play at the club," Berhalter said.
The 30-year-old Argentine ranks fifth in MLS in goals since signing with the Crew and is among only eight players in the league to register double-digit goals in both 2013 and 2014. His 12 converted penalty kicks lead the league, five more than the four players currently tied for second place.
His 11 goals and seven assists in 2014 tied for the lead on his team, and he led the Crew with 73 shots and 25 shots on goal. His 88 chances were fourth in MLS.
Proir to joining Colombus, Higuain spent time with River Plate, Nueva Chicago, Besiktas, Godoy Cruz and Colon.
- Christopher Woody