Local USL side Orange County Blues FC are working towards their 2015 season debut on Saturday, and announced this week another addition to their roster, in Swiss midfielder Didier Crettanand. The 29-year-old last featured for Swiss second-division side Servette, after starting his career with first-division team FC Sion and playing for them, Sion's reserve side, and Lausanne-Sport, the latter two on loan. With Sion, he won the domestic cup three times (2006, 2009, 2011).
Crettenand is also a former Swiss youth international, playing from the U-16 level to the U-21s for a total of 40 games, according to the Blues' release.
"Didier is a fantastic addition to the team as he is a player of the highest quality. His experience and leadership will play a pivotal role this season for the Blues," said Blues head coach Oliver Wyss in a statement.
"I am very excited to be part of the OC Blues and I hope to help them win a championship! After playing the last 12 years in the Switzerland, I am ready and motivated to play in USL," Crettenand said in the statement.
Given the rebuilding project for the Blues this season, with a new coach and a team looking to turn around from a tough 2014 season, Crettanand seems likely to be one of the key players on what is largely a young roster this season. Of course, much of USL is young, by design, but having an experienced veteran of European leagues should bolster the team in multiple ways.
The Blues open up regular season play on Saturday by hosting Arizona United SC at Anteater Stadium in Irvine. We'll have more coverage ahead of the game in the coming days.
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