The Glen Cove native was acquired by Columbus through a trade with the Colorado Rapids, which selected Grella in Stage 1 of Major League Soccer’s 2017 Re-Entry Draft. In exchange, Columbus sent Colorado a Second Round pick in the 2019 MLS Draft.
“Mike is an intelligent and technically gifted player whose profile fits our game model well. His determination and strong work ethic will put him in an excellent position to return to top form,” said Gregg Berhalter, the Crew’s Sporting Director and Head Coach. “We believe that at his best, Mike Grella is an outstanding player in Major League Soccer.”
Grella was with the Red Bulls from 2015-2017, signing with the club ahead of the 2015 MLS season. In just his first season with the club, he set a record for fastest goal in MLS history, as he scored the opening goal in a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Union on October 18, 2015. During his time with the Red Bulls, Grella helped the club to two first-place finishes in the Eastern Conference during the regular season (2015, 2016), which included winning the 2015 Supporters’ Shield.
In addition to his 73 appearances (61 starts) in regular-season action, Grella also made six appearances (five starts) in the MLS Cup Playoffs and four appearances (two starts) in the CONCACAF Champions League while with the New York Red Bulls.
Prior to his time in MLS, Grella was with Leeds United of England from 2009-2011, making 40 appearances and scoring five goals for the club. While at Leeds United, Grella was sent on loan to English sides Carlisle United (2010) and Swindon Town (2011). After leaving Leeds in 2011, he spent time with Brentford FC and Bury FC of the Football League Championship before joining Scunthorpe United FC in England’s Football League One.
In 2013, Grella joined Danish side Viborg FF of Denmark’s topflight. Following his time with Viborg FF, Grella joined North Carolina FC of the North American Soccer League in 2014.