Columbus Crew SC

Columbus Crew Soccer Club is an American professional soccer club based in Columbus, Ohio. The Crew competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference and began play in 1996 as one of the ten charter clubs of the league.[3] The team is currently being operated by an ownership group led by the Haslam family and former team doctor Pete Edwards. The Haslam/Edwards group is the third owner in club history.

Columbus Crew SC
Full nameColumbus Crew Soccer Club[1]
Nickname(s)The Crew
FoundedMay 10, 1994 (1994-05-10)
StadiumMapfre Stadium
Columbus, Ohio
OwnersDee and Jimmy Haslam
JW and Whitney Johnson
Dr. Pete Edwards
Head coachCaleb Porter
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2019Eastern Conference: 10th
Overall: 20th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website

The franchise was founded in 1994 as simply the Columbus Crew. Since 1999, the Crew has played home games at Mapfre Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium ever built for an MLS team, with a seating capacity of 19,968 as of the 2015 season. From 1996 to 1998, the Crew played its home games at Ohio Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.[3] In 2014, the team set club attendance records for both most cumulative attendance and most sellouts.[4]

Crew SC has won five major trophies: MLS Cup 2008, the Supporters' Shield in 2004, 2008, and 2009, and the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Crew have qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League (or its predecessor, the CONCACAF Champions' Cup) three times, reaching the quarterfinals each time.


The beginning (1994–1998)

On June 15, 1994, Major League Soccer announced that Columbus, Ohio, would be home to one of the ten founding members of the new top flight North American professional soccer league. Columbus had promised construction of a soccer-specific stadium and had sold over 12,000 season ticket deposits.[5] The team was tentatively named the Columbus Eclipse in its application to the league, as a solar eclipse had passed over the city after reaching the league's 10,000-deposit minimum, but it was eventually renamed the Crew.[6]

MLS investor Lamar Hunt, and his son Clark became the owners of both the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards in 1996. The first players for the Crew were South African national team veteran Doctor Khumalo, by assignment, and Brian McBride. McBride was selected as the first overall pick in MLS's first draft in 1996. Former U.S. National Team coach Timo Liekoski would be the team's head coach for its first season.[7][8]

The Crew played their first game on April 13, 1996 in front of a home crowd of 25,266 in Ohio Stadium against D.C. United and won 4–0.[9] Columbus would struggle, however, winning only 5 of their next 21 games. After the 6–16 start, Tom Fitzgerald replaced head coach Liekoski.[10] The Crew, under Fitzgerald, won 9 of their last 10 games to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. They went on to lose in the conference playoff semi-finals.[11]

The Black & Gold finished 15–17 in both 1997 and 1998, which put them in third and fourth place, respectively, in the Eastern Conference. Each season ended with losses in the Conference Finals to D.C. United. The Crew reached the 1998 U.S. Open Cup Final, however, the match was postponed due to a hurricane and controversially relocated from Virginia Beach to Soldier Field in Chicago then the home of Chicago Fire, who won the match 2 to 1 after extra time. Stern John, in his first of two seasons with Columbus, was the 1998 scoring champion, amassing 26 goals and 5 assists.[8][11]

A new home (1999–2003)

Columbus' 1999 season began with the opening of Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States. Columbus won their first game in the stadium, 2–0, against New England Revolution in front of a sell-out crowd of 24,741. Columbus would finish in second place at 19–13, but would lose in the conference finals to D.C. United for the third straight season. The 1999 season was the last for Stern John who scored 52 goals in 65 games for the club.[8] The team had the lowest goals against average in the Eastern Conference,[12] and Mark Dougherty became the first goalkeeper in league history to record 50 wins, with a 4–2 win over the MetroStars on August 18, 1999 at Giants Stadium.[13]

Dante Washington was acquired from the Dallas Burn to replace John, but his 13 goals in 2000 was not enough to propel the Crew to the playoffs. For the first time, Columbus failed to reach the postseason. Columbus got off to a slow 1–3–2 start in 2001, which led to the replacement of coach Tom Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, who had coached 161 of the Crew's first 183 MLS matches over parts of six seasons between 1996 and 2001, was replaced by Greg Andrulis. Andrulis would lead the Black & Gold to a 2nd-place finish in 2001 but the team was ousted from the playoffs in the league quarterfinals.[8][11]

In 2002, Columbus would win the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in team history. They advanced to the finals by beating the Richmond Kickers, MetroStars, and Kansas City Wizards. In the final, they beat LA Galaxy, who had just won the MLS Cup earlier in the week. Freddy García scored the only goal and keeper Jon Busch posted the shutout in Columbus's 1–0 win. It was the first championship in team history.[14] The Crew finished 11–12–5 in the regular season and finished in a tie for first place. They lost in the league semi-finals to New England. Kyle Martino won rookie of the year in 2002, a first for the Crew. By winning the 2002 U.S. Open Cup, Columbus received a bid to play in the 2003 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. They advanced to the second round by beating Árabe Unido 4–2 on aggregate in the first round before losing to Monarcas Morelia, 6–2. McBride would play his final season with Columbus in 2003 before joining Fulham of the Premier League.[8][11]

Transitions (2004–2006)

With the departure of Brian McBride, Columbus added Robin Fraser and Simon Elliott to the club. These additions proved to be vital as Fraser went on to win the Defender of the Year award in 2004. The Crew set a franchise record for points, 49, by going 12–5–13, thanks in part to an 18-game unbeaten streak (8–0–10) to end the season. Despite winning the Supporters' Shield for best record in the league, the club would be eliminated from the MLS Cup in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In his last season for the Black & Gold, Jeff Cunningham scored his 62nd goal, which tied him with McBride for the franchise record.[8][11]

Over both of the next two seasons, Columbus battled injuries to several players and struggled to win many games. Despite winning the MLS Coach of the Year Award in 2004,[15] Andrulis was replaced on an interim basis by Robert Warzycha midway through the 2005 season. After missing playoffs in the 2005 season, the club would hire former L.A. Galaxy and UCLA head coach Sigi Schmid. Schmid had won an MLS Cup and U.S. Open Championship in his six seasons with Galaxy.[16] Warzycha remained on staff under Schmid. In 2006, the Crew went on a 13-game winless streak (0–7–6) between June 10th and August 19th. The season ended on a tragic note when team founder and owner Lamar Hunt passed away on December 14, 2006.[8][11][17]

The Barros Schelotto era (2007–2010)

The 2007 season in Major League Soccer started with news that global icon David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy.[18] The Crew followed suit by signing Guillermo Barros Schelotto on April 19, 2007.[19] Columbus also signed forward Alejandro Moreno to bolster its attack. Even with these new players, the Crew still missed the playoffs in 2007.[8]

In 2008, the Crew won its first MLS Cup. Led by Barros Schelotto, who scored seven goals and had 19 assists and won the MLS Most Valuable Player Award,[20] the team also won its second Supporters' Shield. After going 17–7–6 in the regular season, the Black & Gold won playoff games against Kansas City and Chicago Fire before beating the New York Red Bulls 3–1 in the final. Chad Marshall won MLS Defender of the Year award, and Sigi Schmid won Coach of the Year.[8][11]

After the 2008 season, Sigi Schmid left Columbus to coach Seattle Sounders FC, and the team named former player and assistant coach Robert Warzycha head coach. In 2009, Barros Schelotto was rewarded with the honor of becoming the franchise's first Designated Player.[21] The club went 13–7–10 in the regular season, good enough for 49 points and their second consecutive Supporters' Shield. The Crew was eliminated by Real Salt Lake in the two-legged Eastern Conference semi-finals, 4–2 on aggregate. Chad Marshall won his second consecutive MLS Defender of the Year award.[8]

Columbus started the 2010 season in the CONCACAF Champions League. They reached the quarterfinals, but lost to Toluca in March. The club finished the season 14–8–8, but lost in the quarter-finals of the MLS Cup playoffs to the Colorado Rapids. The Crew lost 2–1 in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup Final at Qwest Field, home of Seattle Sounders FC.[8]

Warzycha's Final Years (2011–2013)

In 2011, the Crew finished ninth in the league at 13–13–8 and lost in the wild card round of the playoffs to the Colorado Rapids.[22][23]

In 2012, the club finished sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 15–12–7 record. They would narrowly miss the playoffs.

On September 2, 2013 the Crew parted ways with Head Coach Robert Warzycha after an embarrassing home loss to the Seattle Sounders, combined with a highly frustrated fanbase. Brian Bliss, the Crew's technical director, took over as interim head coach.[24] This effectively ended his stay with the club since 1996, when he joined the club as a player.

The Precourt era (2013–2018)

Gregg Berhalter era (2013–2018)

On July 30, 2013, Anthony Precourt became the second investor-operator in the history of the club.[25] Precourt wasted little time in getting to work by upgrading portions of Crew Stadium, as well as evolving the team's brand in a way that identified with the city of Columbus, all within his first 15 months with the club.

On November 6, 2013, Precourt announced that Gregg Berhalter would be the club's new head coach.[26] Berhalter also became the first sporting director in club history.

The 2014 season saw Columbus return to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Under Berhalter, the Crew finished the year 14–10–10, good enough for the third seed in the Eastern Conference of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Crew also sent two of its players to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, center back Giancarlo González and left back Waylon Francis, who both represented Costa Rica during the tournament. Gonzalez was hailed for his performance, being named to ESPN's Best XI of the group stage.[27]

Berhalter was nominated for 2014 MLS Head Coach of the Year. Likewise, goalkeeper Steve Clark was nominated for 2014 Goalkeeper of the Year and Michael Parkhurst won the Individual Fair Play Award for the third time.[28]

Off the field, the Black & Gold announced sports industry veteran Andy Loughnane as its new President of Business Operations on August 16, 2014. [29] The team set the all-time attendance record and sellout record for a single season at Crew Stadium.[4] The combination of the club's on-field success and off-field resurgence capped a successful full first year for Precourt and Berhalter.

On October 8, 2014, the Precourt ownership changed the name and logo of the club, changing the name from "Columbus Crew" to "Columbus Crew SC".[30]

The beginning of the 2015 season started in late 2014 with the return of Kei Kamara.[31] Kamara proved to be beneficial as he scored 22 regular season goals and 4 playoff goals. Along with Kamara, Ethan Finlay and Waylon Francis received spots in the MLS All-Star game versus English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.[32] On September 26, 2015, Crew SC hosted their largest sellout crowd since 2008 with an announced attendance of 22,719.[33] Crew SC came into the playoffs with a bye in the first round after securing second place in the Eastern Conference. Following the Eastern Conference semi-final and final match-ups, Crew SC played host to the Portland Timbers in the 2015 MLS Cup Final.[34] This was the club's second-ever MLS Cup Final appearance after the 2008 MLS Cup championship. The Crew was upset by the Portland Timbers at home following the 2–1 loss. All three goals were scored in the first half including the lone Crew SC goal scored by Kamara.[35] Kamara was nominated for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award. Kamara was also nominated for and won the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Award. Wil Trapp was nominated for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award.[36][37]

Proposed relocation to Austin

On October 17, 2017, Precourt announced intentions to relocate the franchise to Austin, Texas if a downtown stadium cannot be secured in Columbus.[38] Following the news, fans and supporters of the club began a campaign and movement being known as #SaveTheCrew. Many had been present in the city's council building on behalf of the cause. Later in the month, it was revealed that Precourt had a clause in his purchase of the club that would allow him to only relocate the franchise to Austin.[39]

On November 15, 2017, Precourt and MLS Commissioner Don Garber met with Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, and civic and business leaders in New York City about the Crew's future in Columbus. After the meeting, both sides issued press releases detailing the meeting. Per the delegation from Columbus, Precourt and MLS refused to take the relocation threat off the table.[40] Per Precourt and MLS, Columbus leaders did not present any plan for a downtown stadium.[41] On the issue, the Mayor had stated it was "obvious that Don Garber nor PSV (Precourt Sports Ventures) had any commitment for the team to stay in Columbus".[42]

In the annual state of the league conference, commissioner Garber addressed more on the potential move. He had stated the difficulties there has been present with the market over the years. Discussing in 2008, when the league began its initiative to end having ownership groups owning multiple franchises in the league, there was no success in finding a local ownership group in the market of Columbus, with an interested group wanting to purchase the team but with a very low value. It was then when the league's executives hired a different company banker and expanded its search regionally where Anthony Precourt was involved. Garber stated that had Precourt not acquired the club, there was a possibility that Columbus would have ceased operations and ultimately folded. As to why the issues were not stated publicly, Don Garber stated that the league is a "private business" and what's been happening has been seen in other major sport leagues in the country.[43]

On March 5, 2018, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the City of Columbus filed a lawsuit against Precourt, citing a 1996 state law that prevents sports teams that benefited from public facilities or financial assistance from relocating to another city without a six-month notice and attempting to sell the team to a local ownership group.[44] The bill was originally passed after the controversial relocation of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.[45] On October 12, 2018, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Haslam, released a statement stating he was in the process of buying the Crew, along with other local groups.[46] MLS later released a statement stating their willingness to keep the Crew in Columbus, and that Precourt will get the rights to start a team in Austin if the deal goes through.[47] On January 1, 2019, control of the Crew franchise was officially transferred to the Haslam family and longtime team physician Dr. Pete Edwards, who took full ownership of the club after reaching a deal with Precourt Sports Ventures LLC.[48]

Colors and badge

The official colors of Columbus Crew SC are black and gold. Columbus' usual primary jersey is predominately bright yellow with black trim, and has been nicknamed the "banana kit" or "canary kit" by fans.

The alternate uniform has historically been black. In the latter part of the 2000s, The Crew began shifting more towards a white uniform with yellow and black trim or stripes. Even so, the away uniforms are seldom worn by The Crew due to the strong favor shown to the traditional home uniform; and also due to the fact that the historically black jerseys compound the summer heat in the United States climate. For the 2015 season, Crew SC has returned to a black jersey for its alternate uniform.

Prior to the initial MLS season a citywide public contest was created to decide the name for the team, the very first entry was a hit, and the Columbus Crew was born.

The club badge from 1996 to 2014 was unique amongst MLS teams in that it featured people, containing three silhouetted males wearing construction hats beneath a stylized "Crew" wordmark. The logo was intended to represent a crew of hard working people, much like the hard-working, blue collar image the city of Columbus cultivates.

Citing a disconnect between what the crest stood for and the 21st-century identity of the city of Columbus, owner Anthony Precourt initiated a rebrand upon assuming ownership in 2013. Precourt said that Columbus was no longer a true blue collar town, and that the industrial/manufacturing motif was no longer representative. In fact, Columbus had grown into a 21st-century city and become much more "dynamic and diverse".[49]

On October 8, 2014, the Crew unveiled a new badge. The new circular-shaped badge features the club's classic black and gold colors, a minimized original crest with "96" overlaid on top, and the black and gold checkerboard pattern predominantly seen on flags waving in the Nordecke.[1][50] A great deal of symbolism was packed into the new badge. The horizontal stripes are representative of the ten original MLS franchises, and the shield is an homage to the club's original badge with the 96 representing 1996 – the club's first year in competition. The inset "O" in the badge mimics the same shape found in Ohio state flag, a nod to Columbus's role as the state's capital city. Finally, as a significant point of pride for the city of Columbus, "Columbus" was added to the new badge, along with "SC" to further define the brand more accurately as a soccer club.

The club's nickname, the Crew, also evolved from its original meaning as a hard-working construction crew to a new, more relevant one as "a tight-knit group of people who come together to share a passion for our club and the sport of soccer". The nickname, Crew, is now meant to symbolize a unique brand of family and friendship between the club, the fans and the communities who unite to embrace and celebrate the authenticity and heritage of the sport.

With the rebrand, the club also identified three brand pillars: original, energetic, and authentically Columbus, in an effort to celebrate its history as a team of firsts – first club in Major League Soccer, first soccer-specific stadium, first major professional championship for Columbus – its youthful, passionate energy, as well as Columbus's young, progressive culture.[50]

Uniform history


On May 15, 1999, the Crew opened Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer, as the Crew beat the New England Revolution 2–0 before a sold-out crowd of 24,741. It has been the model stadium for the rest of the league, and one of the stadiums used by the United States national team in World Cup qualifying. In 2015, the naming rights for the stadium were purchased by Madrid-based insurance company Mapfre, whose U.S headquarters is in Boston and who maintain a regional office in Columbus.

Previously, the Columbus Crew played their home games at the 102,000-capacity Ohio Stadium, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes college football team. They ended with a 33–20 record while playing there.

The team has also played U.S. Open Cup games at two other stadiums: two games in 2005 and 2016 at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, also owned by the Ohio State University and home of the OSU soccer teams; and one in 2014 at the FirstEnergy Stadium–Cub Cadet Field on the campus of the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio.

As part of the new ownership proposal for the Crew unveiled in 2018, the club plans to build a new stadium west of the Arena District near Downtown Columbus. The new stadium would cost $230 million and be located at the center of the Confluence Village neighborhood, a mixed-use development with residential and commercial buildings. It would seat 20,000 spectators and include 30 suites and 1,900 club seats.[51]

Revenue and profitability

Having lost money in 2011, in 2012 the Crew identified three financial goals with the aim of achieving financial stability.[52] First, the team wanted a different jersey sponsor, which it achieved when they reached a deal with Barbasol. Second, the team wanted to sell naming rights to Columbus Crew Stadium, hoping for $15 million over 10 years. Third, the Crew had announced in September 2011 that it aimed to increase season-ticket sales from its current levels (later revealed to be 4,000) to 10,000.[52][53] By November 2012, Crew season tickets were at 6,000,[53] and by August 2013, the Crew had surpassed 7,000 season ticket holders.[54]

Under Precourt Sports Ventures, Anthony Precourt, and Andy Loughnane, Crew SC's goals have shifted from exclusively focusing on season ticket sales to selling out MAPFRE Stadium. In 2014, the club set all-time stadium attendance records for highest overall attendance and most sellouts in one season. Loughnane confirmed that the club was trending to increase its season ticket membership by 1,000 members per year and also stated his intent for the club to assimilate into the corporate community and fan culture, adding that he believes this transformation is happening rapidly.[55] On March 3, 2015, Crew SC announced that they had agreed to a multimillion-dollar stadium naming rights partnership with MAPFRE Insurance, a first for the stadium.[56] In 2015, Crew SC and EAS Sports Nutrition agreed to a naming rights deal for its training facilities. Merchandise sales grew double digits since the previous year, as did food and beverage sales. It was also announced that the club gained over 1,000 new season ticket members from the previous year.[57]


Mars' Snickers chocolate bar was Crew SC's first uniform sponsor, on a five-year, $6 million deal that lasted from 1996 to 2000.[58] From 2002 to 2004 Pepsi was the team's shirt sponsor.[59] Glidden was the Crew's shirt sponsor from 2008 to 2010, a deal worth $1 million per year.[60] In early 2012, they signed a five-year deal with Barbasol, which is based in Dublin, Ohio, for an undisclosed fee.[60]

In late February 2017, Columbus Crew SC signed a three-year deal with Acura, making the company the Official Jersey Partner and the Official Automotive Partner of the team. The deal was also the largest annual commercial transaction in club history.[61]

Club culture

Supporters: The Nordecke Transformation

Before the 2008 season, the Columbus Crew front office demolished the north stands where the most ardent of Crew supporters stood, in order to build a stage that would provide additional revenue by facilitating concerts and other events. Prior to this, the team's three supporters' groups (Crew Supporters Union, Hudson Street Hooligans, and La Turbina Amarilla) sat apart because of differences between the groups ranging from age to ethnicity. The building of the stage forced the groups to come together into the north corner of the stadium, forming one large block of vocal and artistic support. Putting their differences aside, the three groups formed the Nordecke ( /nɔːrdˈɛkə/) which is German for "north corner", celebrating the city's German heritage. In 2006 a large contingency of fans from the Nordecke began traveling together to support the Crew during their away campaigns. In late 2009/early 2010 the term "NorOnTour" grew popular on social networking, to describe the frequent fan traveling support.[62]


Columbus Crew's first mascot was "Crew Cat", who was the franchise's mascot for almost 20 years.[63] Columbus' official mascot is "S.C", the son of "Crew Cat" that was introduced for the 2015 MLS season.[64] As new ownership was employed in the 2019 season, the older “Crew Cat” returned and attends games alongside S.C.


The Crew has a rivalry with the Chicago Fire.[65] Columbus is roughly a six-hour drive away from Chicago. Due to the relative close proximity of the two cities, it is not uncommon for supporters of both teams to make the trip to support their club in matches between the two. In the 2008 season, Columbus defeated Chicago in the Eastern Conference Championship match. In 1998, Chicago defeated Columbus for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

MLS frames matches between Toronto FC and Columbus as a rivalry, creating a trophy called the Trillium Cup, awarded to the winner of the season series.[65] The Crew also contests FC Dallas for the Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup. Lamar Hunt was the owner of both teams until his death.

FC Cincinnati supporters claim the Crew as a rival, although some Columbus supporters do not consider the former USL team a rival.[66] The two sides met in a 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match in front of 30,000 spectators, the largest non-final crowd for an Open Cup fixture.[67][68] This was called the Hell Is Real Derby, based on a Christian billboard along I-71 between Columbus and Cincinnati.[69][70]


In 2016, Crew SC games aired on TWC Sports Channel (now Spectrum Sports), simulcast on Sinclair Broadcast Group-operated stations in Columbus. The majority of games aired on The CW affiliate WWHO, and selected games also aired on WSYX, WTTE, and WSYX's MyNetworkTV subchannel.[71][72] Dwight Burgess and Neil Sika served as co-hosts.[73]

In 2019, the team reached a deal with Fox Sports Ohio, placing all matches on either it or secondary channel SportsTime Ohio.[74]

English language radio broadcasts were on 102.5 WWCD with simulcast audio from Burgess and Sika.[75] Spanish radio broadcasts were on 103.1 FM WVKO-FM with Juan Valladares calling all home and road games.[76]

Players and staff

For details, see All-time Columbus Crew SC roster.

Current roster

As of December 12, 2019[77]
No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Eloy Room  Curaçao
3 Defender Josh Williams  United States
4 Defender Jonathan Mensah  Ghana
5 Forward Jordan Hamilton  Canada
6 Midfielder Wil Trapp (HG)  United States
7 Midfielder Pedro Santos (DP)  Portugal
8 Midfielder Artur  Brazil
11 Forward Gyasi Zardes (DP)  United States
14 Defender Waylon Francis  Costa Rica
16 Midfielder Hector Jiménez  United States
18 Midfielder Luis Díaz (DP)  Costa Rica
19 Defender Milton Valenzuela  Argentina
24 Goalkeeper Jon Kempin  United States
25 Defender Harrison Afful  Ghana
28 Goalkeeper Matt Lampson  United States
30 Defender Aboubacar Keita (HG)  United States
33 Forward JJ Williams (GA)  United States
34 Midfielder Youness Mokhtar  Morocco
Midfielder Darlington Nagbe  United States
Defender Axel Sjöberg  Sweden
Defender Vito Wormgoor  Netherlands

Out on loan

No. Position Player Nation
Defender Chris Cadden (on loan to Oxford United)  Scotland

Team management

Front office
Investor-operators Dee and Jimmy Haslam
JW and Whitney Johnson
Dr. Pete Edwards
President Tim Bezbatchenko
Coaching staff
Head coach Caleb Porter
Assistant coaches Ben Cross
Ezra Hendrickson
Pablo Moreira
Matt Reis
Technical director Pat Onstad
Crew SC Academy
Academy general manager Dennis Sanchez
Director of individual development Sergio Lozano
Academy head coaches Andreas Engelmark
Kelvin Jones

Last updated: July 3, 2019

Head coach history

Crew SC have had eight different head coaches since joining the league in 1996. Timo Liekoski, the only Finnish head coach in MLS history, was the first head coach in 1996, but started 6–16 and was fired midseason to be replaced by Tom Fitzgerald.[78] Sigi Schmid managed the team for three seasons (2006–08). Robert Warzycha was the head coach twice, the first time on an interim basis prior to Schmid's arrival and then immediately after Schmid left until September 2, 2013, when he was fired and Brian Bliss became the interim coach. On November 16, 2013 it was announced that Gregg Berhalter would become the head coach as well as the first sporting director in club history.[79]

Fitzgerald and Warzycha are tied for the all-time leader in regular season wins (70).[80]

Name Nationality Tenure
Timo Liekoski  Finland December 5, 1995 – August 2, 1996
Tom Fitzgerald  United States August 2, 1996 – May 17, 2001
Greg Andrulis  United States May 17, 2001 – July 16, 2005
Robert Warzycha (interim)  Poland July 16, 2005 – October 20, 2005
Sigi Schmid  Germany October 20, 2005 – December 16, 2008
Robert Warzycha  Poland December 23, 2008 – September 2, 2013
Brian Bliss (interim)  United States September 2, 2013 – November 6, 2013
Gregg Berhalter  United States November 6, 2013 – December 2, 2018
Caleb Porter  United States January 4, 2019 – present

General manager and sporting director history

Name Nationality Tenure
Jamey Rootes  United States 1995–2000
Jim Smith  United States 2000–2004
Mark McCullers  United States 2004–2013
Gregg Berhalter  United States 2013–2018
Pat Onstad  Canada 2018–present



Competitions Titles Seasons
MLS Cup 1 2008
Supporters' Shield 3 2004, 2008, 2009
U.S. Open Cup 1 2002
Individual Club Awards


  • All-time regular season record: 310–296–158 (Through end of 2019 regular season)[82]


Season MLS Regular Season MLS Cup Playoffs U.S. Open Cup CONCACAF Champions Cup /
Champions League
1996 4th, East (15–17) Lost Conference Semi-finals (Tampa Bay Mutiny 1–2) Did not enter Did not qualify
1997 3rd, East (15–17) Won Conference Semi-finals (Tampa Bay Mutiny 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (D.C. United 0–2)
Did not enter Did not qualify
1998 2nd, East (15–17) Won Conference Semi-finals (MetroStars 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (D.C. United 1–2)
Final Did not qualify
1999 2nd, East (19–13) Won Conference Semi-finals (Tampa Bay Mutiny 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (D.C. United 1–2)
Semi-finals Did not qualify
2000 4th, Central (11–16–5) Did not qualify Quarter-finals Did not qualify
2001 2nd, Central (13–7–6) Lost Quarter-finals (San Jose Earthquakes 0–2) Quarter-finals Not held
2002 2nd, East (11–12–5) Won Conference Semi-finals (San Jose Earthquakes 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (New England 0–2)
Champions Did not qualify
2003 5th, East (10–12–8) Did not qualify Round of 16 Quarter-finals
2004 1st, East* (12–5–13) Lost Conference Semi-finals (New England Revolution 1–2) Round of 16 Did not qualify
2005 6th, East (11–16–5) Did not qualify Round of 16 Did not qualify
2006 6th, East (8–15–9) Did not qualify Round of 16 Did not qualify
2007 6th, East (9–11–10) Did not qualify Did not qualify Did not qualify
2008 1st, East* (17–7–6) Won Conference Semi-finals (Kansas City Wizards 3–1)
Won Conference Finals (Chicago Fire 2–1)
Won MLS Cup (New York Red Bulls 3–1)
Did not qualify Did not qualify
2009 1st, East* (13–7–10) Lost Conference Semi-finals (Real Salt Lake 2–3) Round of 16 Did not qualify
2010 2nd, East (14–8–8) Lost Conference Semi-finals (Colorado Rapids 4–5) Final Quarter-finals (09-10)
2011 4th, East (13–13–8) Lost Wild Card (Colorado Rapids 0–1) Third round Quarter-finals (10–11)
2012 6th, East (15–12–7) Did not qualify Third round Did not qualify (11–12)
2013 8th, East (12–17–5) Did not qualify Round of 16 Did not qualify (12–13)
2014 3rd, East (14–10–10) Lost Conference Semi-finals (New England Revolution 3–7 agg.) Round of 16 Did not qualify (13–14)
2015 2nd, East (15–11–8) Won Conference Semi-finals (Montreal Impact 4–3 agg.)
Won Conference Finals (New York Red Bulls 2–1 agg.)
Lost MLS Cup (Portland Timbers 1–2)
Round of 16 Did not qualify (14–15)
2016 9th, East (8–14–12) Did not qualify Round of 16 Did not qualify (15–16)
2017 5th, East (16–12–6) Won Knockout Round (Atlanta United 0–0, 5–3 pen.)
Won Conference Semi-finals (New York City FC 4–3 agg.)
Lost Conference Finals (Toronto FC 0–1 agg.)
Fourth round Did not qualify (16–17)
2018 5th, East (14–11–9) Won Knockout Round (D.C. United 2–2, 3–2 pen.)
Lost Conference Semi-finals (New York Red Bulls 1–3 agg.)
Fourth round Did not qualify
2019 10th, East (10–16–8) Did not qualify Round of 16 Did not qualify
† Made the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Giants Cup which was held instead of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup in 2001

International tournaments

First round v. Deportivo Saprissa – 0:2, 1:1 (Saprissa advance 3:1 on aggregate)
First round v. Árabe Unido – 1:2, 3:0 (Crew advance 4:2 on aggregate)
Quarter-Final v. Monarcas Morelia – 0:6, 2:0 (Morelia advance 6:2 on aggregate)
Group stage
v. Puerto Rico Islanders 2:0, 1:1
v. Cruz Azul 0:5, 0:2
v. Deportivo Saprissa 1:0, 1:1
Quarter-Final v. Toluca 2:2, 2:3 (Toluca advances 5:4 on aggregate)
Group stage
v. Municipal 1:0, 1:2
v. Joe Public 3:0, 4:1
v. Santos Laguna 1:0, 0:1
Quarter-Final v. Real Salt Lake 0:0, 1:4 (Real Salt Lake advances 4:1 on aggregate)

Columbus holds a 13–6–3 all-time record in international friendlies.

Player records


As of October 6, 2019[83]
# Name Years Signed from MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 Chad Marshall2004–2013Stanford Cardinal2531185277
2 Mike Clark1996–2003Richmond Kickers22122184265
3 Jeff Cunningham1998–2004
South Florida Bulls
FC Dallas
4 Eddie Gaven2006–2013MetroStars20991013241
5 Justin Meram2011–2017
Michigan Wolverines
Orlando City
6 Federico Higuaín2012–2019Colón1931430210
7 Brian Maisonneuve1996–2004Indiana Hoosiers17217136208
8 Wil Trapp2013–presentAkron Zips1851550205
9 Brian McBride1996–2003VfL Wolfsburg16122133199
10 Robert Warzycha1996–2002Honvéd1601782187

Bold denotes players still playing for the club.


As of October 6, 2019[83]
# Name Years Signed from MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 Brian McBride1996–2003VfL Wolfsburg6298079
2 Jeff Cunningham1998–2004
South Florida Bulls
FC Dallas
3 Federico Higuaín2012–2019Colón5540059
4 Stern John1998–1999New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers4483055
5 Edson Buddle2001–2005Long Island Rough Riders4224452
6 Justin Meram2011–2017
Michigan Wolverines
Orlando City
7 Eddie Gaven2006–2013MetroStars3522140
8 Guillermo Barros Schelotto2007–2010Boca Juniors3321238
9 Kei Kamara2006–2007
Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros
10 Ola Kamara2016–2017Austria Wien3410035

Bold denotes players still playing for the club.


As of October 6, 2019[83]
# Name Years Signed from MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 Robert Warzycha1996–2002Honvéd6154171
2 Federico Higuaín2012–2019Colón6351069
3 Jeff Cunningham1998–2004
South Florida Bulls
FC Dallas
4 Brian McBride1996–2003VfL Wolfsburg4531251
5 Guillermo Barros Schelotto2007–2010Boca Juniors4170048
6 Brian Maisonneuve1996–2004Indiana Hoosiers3731041
7 Justin Meram2011–2017
Michigan Wolverines
Orlando City
8 Brian West1998–2003Virginia Cavaliers2924035
9 Ethan Finlay2012–2017Creighton Bluejays3001031
10 Eddie Gaven2006–2013MetroStars2513130

Bold denotes players still playing for the club.


As of October 6, 2019[83]
# Name Years Signed from MLS Playoffs Open Cup Continental Total
1 William Hesmer2007–2012Kansas City Wizards4110345
2 Jon Busch2002–2006Hershey Wildcats2512129
3 Zack Steffen2016–2019SC Freiburg2330026
4 Steve Clark2014–2016Hønefoss BK2210023
Andy Gruenebaum2006–2013Kentucky Wildcats1802323
6 Mark Dougherty1998–2001Tampa Bay Mutiny1022014
7 Brad Friedel1996–1997Galatasaray1110012
8 Tom Presthus2000–2003D.C. United900110
9 Matt Lampson2012–2015
Ohio State Buckeyes50005
Juergen Sommer1998–1999Queens Park Rangers40105
Jonny Walker2005–2006MetroStars50005

Bold denotes players still playing for the club.


Name Years
Robin Fraser2004–2006
Frankie Hejduk2006–2010
Chad Marshall2011–2012
Federico Higuaín2013
Michael Parkhurst2014–2016
Wil Trapp2017–present

Average attendance


SeasonRegular seasonPlayoffs
200015,451missed playoffs
200316,250missed playoffs
200512,916missed playoffs
200613,294missed playoffs
200715,230missed playoffs
201112,185no home games in playoffs
201214,397missed playoffs
201316,080missed playoffs
201617,125missed playoffs
201914,856missed playoffs
All-time 15,366 14,396
  • All-time highest home attendance: 31,550 on September 15, 1996 at Ohio Stadium.


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