Columbus investor Anthony Precourt purchased the Crew in July with a grand vision for his new club. He found himself in the market for a new coach by September. He wanted to use this opportunity to continue the cultural and the structural evolution he commenced when he took charge.
Precourt and club president Mark McCullers searched far and wide for the man to lead this charge. They discussed the opening with the cognoscenti of American soccer — US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and CEO Dan Flynn, former US Soccer secretary general Hank Steinbrecher included — and former Crew stars Guillermo Barros Schelotto (a candidate), Brad Friedel (also a candidate) and Brian McBride. They started with a broad list and whittled it down. And then they made their emphatic decision.
The two men extolled the virtues of former US international defender Gregg Berhalter when they named him head coach and sporting director on Wednesday. They lauded his desire to construct this club brick-by-analytical-brick. They noted the need for cohesive and consistent procedures to foster success year after year. They tasked him with the burden of two jobs and the responsibility of performing both of them well.
Former USA and LA Galaxy standout Gregg Berhalter will manage the Crew next season (Image: German Alegria/MLS).
“We talked a lot about different structures,” Precourt said during a conference call. “The structure needed to match the person’s skill set. I feel just overwhelmingly confident that Gregg was the man to handle both. He has a soccer mind. When you talk to him, you just see he has the perspective of a sporting director and a head coach. I think it’s efficient in terms of making decisions. It creates a sense of accountability.”