COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Crew announced Friday the signing of Costa Rica international Giancarlo Gonzalez. The 26-year-old defender joins the Black & Gold from Norway’s Valerenga, where he made 27 appearances and scored three goals over one and a half seasons.
Prior to his departure for Norway, Gonzalez played domestically with Alajuelense, making 57 regular-season appearances and scoring six goals from 2009-2012. He also played in two editions of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) over that period.
"Giancarlo is a very experienced, young and promising centerback," said sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter. “He has experience in Europe and international experience with the Costa Rican national team. He's been a solid starter all through FIFA World Cup Qualifying for Costa Rica and we feel he is going to be a good addition to our team.”
Internationally, Gonzalez has won 31 caps and netted two goals for Costa Rica, dating back to his debut against Peru in a friendly on October 9, 2010. He struck for the game-winner to give the Ticos a 1-0 win over Honduras in the final of the 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana, the biennial Central American championship and CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying tournament.
Gonzalez has also played in three CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, 14 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and two 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup encounters.
“He's dangerous on offensive set pieces and he's a good passer of the ball," continued Berhalter. “He's good in one-v-one tackling and he has leadership qualities. He's proven that he can win with Alajuelense in Costa Rica and with the Costa Rica national team, so we like all of those qualities.”
On August 25, 2011, while with Alajuelense, Gonzalez squared off against his new manager in a 2-0 CCL loss to the LA Galaxy. Berhalter was a starting defender that evening for the Major League Soccer power.