Darlington Nagbe is one of the great winners in MLS history. Originally born in Liberia, Nagbe and his family left the country to move to France, eventually ending up in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States in 2001. In high school, Nagbe scored 18 goals in his senior year, and was a highly sought-after recruit. Nagbe chose to play his collegiate career at the University of Akron, scoring 19 goals and 19 assists in 73 appearances over three seasons. In 2010, Nagbe led the Zips to their first-ever NCAA National Championship, earning All-American honors and the MAC Hermann Trophy. Nagbe also played with the Cleveland Internationals in the USL Premier Developmental League throughout college, scoring seven goals in eight appearances with the team.
Following his graduation from Akron, Nagbe was selected second overall in the 2011 MLS Draft by the Portland Timbers. In July 2011, Nagbe scored his first MLS goal in a game against the New England Revolution, eventually earning 2011 Goal of the Year honors after the season. Nagbe became a full-time starter for the Timbers, playing 226 games and scoring 28 goals in seven seasons with the team. He also helped them win an MLS Cup in 2015 and became an All-Star for the first time the following year. Nagbe's experience would pay off when he helped the expansion Atlanta United also win a championship in their second season of existence in 2018. During his first season with the Columbus Crew in 2020, he won another MLS Cup and got recognized for Goal of the Year for a second time. Nagbe made his second MLS All-Star team in 2022.
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