Chris Leitch
Ross Paule traded to Crew for Jeff Matteo, Chris Leitch
March 13, 2003 (Official Press Release)

The MetroStars today acquired defender Chris Leitch and midfielder Jeff Matteo from the Columbus Crew in exchange for the rights to midfielder Ross Paule. The duo will join the team for the third phase of preseason training in Argentina.

Leitch, 23, played 13 games with 11 starts during his 2002 rookie campaign. The 5'11" defender was originally acquired by the Crew in the fourth round (47th selection overall) of the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. The Baltimore, Ohio native set University of North Carolina school records for career games played (88) and starts (87) during his four-year college career.

The 22-year-old Matteo is a product of St. John's in Queens, New York and made one appearance for the Crew in 2002. The developmental player from Stormville, New York was selected by Columbus in the second round (20th selection overall) of the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. At St. John's, Matteo was a two-time first-team All-Big East selection, who scored the team's only goal in the 2001 NCAA College Cup in a 2-1 overtime loss to Indiana in the national semifinals. He was named the Big East Midfielder of Year as a senior in 2001 and played in 88 games in his St. John's career, scoring 55 points, on 17 goals and 21 assists. The 5'5" midfielder scored the opening goal of a 2-2 draw between the MetroStars and the Crew on Monday, March 10. Matteo blasted a 20-yard shot that found the upper left corner past an outstretched Paul Grafer.

The MetroStars did not pick up the option on midfielder Ross Paule for the 2003 MLS season, yet still retained his rights. Paule played 31 games for the Metros, starting 29, and scoring two goals and three assists for seven points. The Metros acquired Paule from the Colorado Rapids on August 9, 2001, along with a third round selection in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft in exchange for defender Steve Shak and a second round pick in the 2002 SuperDraft.

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