|Full name||Columbus Crew|
|Founded||June 15, 1994|
|Stadium||Columbus Crew Stadium
|Owner||Precourt Sports Ventures LLC|
|Head Coach||Gregg Berhalter|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|2013||Eastern Conference: 8th
|Website||Club home page|
The Columbus Crew is an American professional soccer club based in Columbus, Ohio which competes in Major League Soccer (MLS). It is one of the ten charter clubs of MLS, having competed in the league since its inception.
The Crew were owned by Lamar Hunt, who also owned the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City), and Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) until his death in 2006, when his son Clark Hunt took ownership of his sports properties. In 2013 Hunt's majority stake in the club was sold to Anthony Precourt and Precourt Sports Ventures.
The Crew currently play their home games at Columbus Crew Stadium, the first professional soccer-specific stadium ever built in the United States, with a seating capacity of 20,145 as of the 2013 Season. From 1996 to 1998, the Crew played their home games at Ohio Stadium on the campus of the Ohio State University.
The Crew has won five major trophies: MLS Cup 2008, the 2004, 2008, and 2009 Supporters' Shields, and the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Crew won the 2002 Open Cup by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy, 1–0, at Columbus Crew Stadium. The Crew then won its first MLS Supporters' Shield in 2004 in a tie-breaker over the Kansas City Wizards. In 2008 the Crew won its second Supporters' Shield en route to defeating the New York Red Bulls in MLS Cup 2008, 3–1.
The nickname "the Crew" is the result of a local fan contest. The team colors are black and gold. The team mascot is Crew Cat.
- 1 History
- 2 Colors and badge
- 3 Stadium
- 4 Revenue and Profitability
- 5 Club culture
- 6 Broadcasting
- 7 Players and staff
- 8 Achievements
- 9 Record
- 10 Average attendance
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
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. 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.
The Crew played their first game on April 13, 1996 against D.C. United and won 4–0 in front of a home crowd of 25,266 in Ohio Stadium. Columbus would struggle, however, winning only 5 of their next 21 games. After the 6–16 start, Tom Fitzgerald replaced head coach Liekoski. 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 semifinals of the playoffs.
The Crew 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, which 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.
A New Home: 1999–2003
The Crew's 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 2nd place in 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.
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 Crew to a 2nd place finish in 2001 but the team was ousted from the playoffs in the league quarterfinals.
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, NY/NJ 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. The Crew finished 11–12–5 in the regular season and finished in a tie for first place. They lost in the league semifinals 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 (Panama) 4–2 on aggregate in the first round before losing to Monarcas Morelia, 6–2. McBride would play his final season with the Crew in 2003 before joining Fulham F.C. of the Premier League.
With the departure of McBride, the Crew 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 semifinals. In his last season for the Crew, Jeff Cunningham scored his 62nd goal, which tied him with McBride for the franchise record.
Over both of the next two seasons, Columbus battled injuries to several players and struggled to win games. Despite winning the MLS Coach of the Year Award in 2004, 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 six seasons with Galaxy. Warzycha remained on staff under Schmid. In 2006, the Crew went on a 13 game winless streak (0–7–6) between June 10 and August 19. The season ended on a tragic note when team founder and owner Lamar Hunt died on December 14, 2006.
The Barros Schelotto Era: 2007–2010
The 2007 season in Major League Soccer started with news that global icon David Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Crew followed suit by signing Guillermo Barros Schelotto on April 19, 2007. The Crew also signed forward Alejandro Moreno to bolster its attack. Even with these new players, the Crew still missed the playoffs in 2007.
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, the team also won its second Supporters' Shield. After going 17–7–6 in the regular season, the Crew 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.
After the 2008 season, Sigi Schmid left the Crew to coach the Seattle Sounders, 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. 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 Semifinals, 4–2 on aggregate. Chad Marshall won his second consecutive MLS Defender of the Year award.
The Crew started the 2010 season in the CONCACAF Champions League. They reached the quarterfinals, but lost to Toluca FC of Mexico in March. The Crew finished the season 14–8–8, but lost in the quarterfinals of the MLS Cup to the Colorado Rapids. The Crew lost 2-1 in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup Final at Qwest Field, home of Seattle Sounders.
2011 to the present
In 2012 the Crew finished 6th in the Eastern Conference with a 15-12-7 record. They narrowly missed the playoffs.
On September 2, 2013 the Crew parted ways with Head Coach Robert Warzycha after a rough season up to that point. Brian Bliss, the Crew's technical director, took over as interim head coach. Gregg Berhalter was named as the new head coach on November 6, 2013.
Colors and badge
Prior to the initial MLS season a city-wide 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 - unique amongst MLS teams in that it features people - contains three silhouetted males wearing construction hats beneath a stylized "Crew" wordmark. The logo is intended to represent a crew of hard working people, much like the hard working, blue collar image the city of Columbus cultivates.
The official colors of the Columbus Crew are black and gold. The Crew's usual primary jersey is predominately bright yellow with black trim, and has been nicknamed the "banana kit" or "canary kit" by fans.
The alternate kit is usually black, but is seldom worn by the Crew, due to the strong favor shown to the all yellow home kit, and due to the fact that the black jerseys compound the heat of summer in the United States. Only occasionally has Crew not worn a black or yellow jersey. In 2007, the Crew wore a predominantly white away shirt with yellow trim, and in 1997 they wore a white away shirt with yellow and black striped "bumblebee"-style sleeves.
- Ohio Stadium; Columbus, Ohio (1996–1999)
- Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio (1999–present)
- Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium; Columbus, Ohio (2005) 1 game in US Open Cup
Initially the Columbus Crew played their home games at the 102,000-capacity Ohio Stadium, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes American college football team. They ended with a 33-20 record while playing there.
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.
Revenue and Profitability
Having lost money in 2011, in 2012 the Crew identified three financial goals with the aim of achieving financial stability. First, the team wanted a new jersey sponsor, which it achieved when they reached a deal with Barbasol. Second, the team wanted to sell naming rights to the 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. By November 2012, Crew season tickets were at 6,000, and by August 2013, the Crew had surpassed 7,000 season ticket holders.
The Crew signed a five-year deal in early 2012 with Barbasol as the team's shirt sponsor. The deal with Barbasol — which is based in Dublin, Ohio — is the most lucrative sponsorship deal in franchise history, although financial terms were not disclosed. Previously, Glidden was the Crew's shirt sponsor from 2008 to 2010, a deal worth $1 million per year. The Crew's initial jersey sponsorship was with Snickers.[not in citation given]
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," (pronounced Nord-eck-eh) which is German for "North Corner." The name "Nordecke" celebrates the city's German heritage.
In 2008 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 sites such as Facebook and Twitter, to describe the frequent fan traveling support.
The Crew has a rivalry with the Chicago Fire. 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.
MLS frames matches between Toronto FC and Columbus as a rivalry, creating a trophy called the Trillium Cup, awarded to the team that wins the rivalry. The Crew contests F.C. Dallas for the Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup. Lamar Hunt was the owner of both of these teams until his death.
The Crew was the first MLS team to land a local television network, when they did so in March 1996. Crew matches are currently broadcast on Time Warner SportsChannel Ohio, with Dwight Burgess providing play-by-play commentary, Chris Doran giving analysis and Ashleigh Ignelzi as the sideline reporter. Select games are broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, UniMás, and Univision Deportes.
English radio broadcasts can be heard on 95.5 WZOH-FM with Neil Sika as play-by-play commentator and John Bluem as color commentator. All broadcasts on 95.5 are accompanied by 30-minute pre- and post-game shows. Spanish radio broadcasts can be heard on 103.1-FM WVKO-FM with Carlos Cordova and Juan Valladares calling all home and road games and include 15-minute pre- and post-game shows.
Players and staff
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of March 1, 2014.
Notable former players
This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team or made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time.
- See also All-time Columbus Crew roster
The Crew has had six different head coaches since the joined 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. Sigi Schmid managed the team for three seasons (2006-2008) 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.
Fitzgerald and Warzycha are currently tied for the all-time leader in regular season wins (70).
- MLS Eastern Conference
- Winners (Regular Season) (3): 2004, 2008, 2009
- Winners (Playoff) (1): 2008
- Minor Trophies
|Season||MLS Regular Season||MLS Cup Playoffs||Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup||CONCACAF Champions Cup /
CONCACAF Champions League
|1996||4th, East (15-17)||Lost Conference Semifinals (Tampa Bay Mutiny 1-2)||Did not enter||Did not qualify|
|1997||3rd, East (15-17)||Won Conference Semifinals (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 Semifinals (New York Red Bulls 2-0)
Lost Conference Finals (D.C. United 1-2)
|Final||Did not qualify|
|1999||2nd, East (19-13)||Won Conference Semifinals (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 Semifinals (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 Semifinals (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 Semifinals (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 Semifinals (Real Salt Lake 2-3)||Round of 16||Did not qualify (08-09)|
|2010||2nd, East (14-8-8)||Lost Conference Semifinals (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||TBD, East||TBD||TBD||Did not qualify (13-14)|
- First round v. Deportivo Saprissa -- 0:2, 1:1 (Saprissa advance 3:1 on aggregate)
Columbus holds a 7-5-3 all-time record in international friendlies.
- Games: Chad Marshall, 264
- Goals: Jeff Cunningham, 64
- Assists: Robert Warzycha, 61
- Shutouts: William Hesmer, 41
MLS regular season only, through 2013 season
- All-Time regular season record: 233-222-110 (Through End of 2013 Regular Season)
- 1996: 18,950/20,807
- 1997: 15,043/11,304
- 1998: 12,275/12,094
- 1999: 17,696/10,983
- 2000: 15,451/Missed Playoffs
- 2001: 17,551/20,883
- 2002: 17,429/11,624
- 2003: 16,250/Missed Playoffs
- 2004: 16,872/15,224
- 2005: 12,916/Missed Playoffs
- 2006: 13,294/Missed Playoffs
- 2007: 15,230/Missed Playoffs
- 2008: 14,622/17,613
- 2009: 14,175/10,109
- 2010: 14,642/10,322
- 2011: 12,185/No Home Games in Playoffs
- 2012: 14,397/Missed Playoffs
- 2013: 16,080/Missed Playoffs
- All-Time: 15,234/13,887
- All-Time Best Attendance For A Game: 53,844 on 07/04/2000 at Mile High Stadium.
- Zeigler, Mark (June 16, 1994). "New league has old woes: Not enough teams; too many seats; not enough money". San Diego Union-Tribune.
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- "2011 Columbus Crew Media Guide". Columbus Crew. pp. 14–20. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
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- Sports Business Journal, Crew makes strides off the field but remains short of season-ticket sales goal, Nov. 19, 2012, http://m.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2012/11/19/Franchises/Crew.aspx
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- Steve Sirk. "Nordecke on tour". Thecrew.com.
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