Aug. 24, 2004
COLUMBUS, OHIO - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer legend Tony Sanneh is returning to the U.S. as a professional as he recently signed a contract with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer (MLS). Sanneh, who has been playing in Germany since 1997, will join former teammate Manuel Lagos with the Crew and 2003 alum Tighe Dombrowski of San Jose as former Panthers currently playing Major League Soccer. "It was evident that Tony was going to return to the MLS eventually and I think there is no better time than right now," UWM head coach Louis Bennett said. "The MLS needs major international stars and Tony is definitely one of those guys. It is nice that he will join Manny Lagos with the Crew. Columbus is a first-class organization and Tony will be very well received there." The St. Paul, Minn.-native played at UWM from 1990 to 1993 and led Milwaukee to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1990 and a first-place finish in the Mid-Continent Conference in 1993. A Second-Team All-America selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association in 1993, Sanneh currently holds the top spot on all three UWM scoring lists: points (138), goals (53), and assists (32). The 33-year old will be making his second stint in the MLS as he helped lead D.C. United to back-to-back league titles in 1996 and 1997. Following his time in D.C. Sanneh moved to Germany where he competed for Hertha Berlin for three seasons before spending his last three years with FC Nurnberg of the German Bundesliga. Sanneh also boasts an impressive national team resume as he owns 40 career appearances for the U.S. National Team. In 2002 the defender played very well in USA's run to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup. Sanneh started all five games in the tournament while playing every minute of every game. "I am very happy and excited to be back in the Midwest and in America," Sanneh said. "It's great to come into an environment where there are a lot of positive things going on, not only on the field, but in the community." Sanneh will join a Columbus team that is currently 7-5-9 in 2004. The Crew have 30 points on the season and sit in second place in the five-team East Division.