Soccer | Crew: Gregg Berhalter named coach

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Thecrew.com
Gregg Berhalter also will assume the title of sporting director for the Crew.

The Crew has named Gregg Berhalter as its new coach.

The first American to coach a European professional club, Berhalter takes over as the seventh coach in Crew history. Most recently, he went 18-11-16 in two seasons with Sweden's Hammarby IF before being fired last summer largely because of the team's offensive struggles.

Berhalter also will assume the title of sporting director, while Mark McCullers will relinquish the title of general manager and solely will be the team president. Brian Bliss, who had been the technical director and the club's interim coach for the final eight games of the season, has not been retained in any way.

“We are thrilled to conclude this expansive and thorough search for our next leader, a process that spanned three continents. Gregg's strong vision, passion, work ethic, intelligence, data-driven decision making, broad soccer network and playing credentials separated him throughout this search,” Crew Chairman and Investor-Operator Anthony Precourt said in a statement. “His unique skill-set gives us great confidence in boldly changing the structure of our soccer operations, with Gregg leading as our first-ever Sporting Director.

"I believe this structure will allow us to achieve a consistent winning culture and best practices that will lead to repeatable success, year-in and year-out. Gregg has been a winner and a leader at every level, and will fit in well with the Crew as a team of firsts. Gregg was a pioneer as an American captain of two Bundesliga teams, and as the first American to manage a European soccer club. I expect great success for the Columbus Crew under Gregg's leadership in the years to come.”

Last week,  McCullers said that the club had agreed on a finalist and would be moving forward on that person. This week, that search had picked up momentum and an announcement was expected shortly.

Yesterday, Bliss said he had not had any recent talks with the front office about his future with the club.

A teleconference with Berharlter has been scheduled for noon.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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