Columbus Crew SC is one of the founding teams of the USA’s top league, Major League Soccer (MLS). Based out of Columbus, Ohio, the team was established in 1994. The team has been providing consistent performances on the field that have led them to win the MLS Cup championship in 2008 and a Supporters’ Shield title in 2004.
MAPFRE Stadium serves as their home field, where they proudly display their yellow, black, and white colors. Continue reading to learn all about the Columbus Crew and their presence in the MLS.
HISTORY OF COLUMBUS CREW: Founded in 1994
The Columbus Crew was founded in 1996 as part of Major League Soccer’s expansion. Despite struggling in their early years, the Crew eventually found success and reached the Conference Finals in 1997 and 1998, but lost to D.C. United. They also reached the 1998 U.S. Open Cup Final but were controversially beaten by the Chicago Fire.
WHO WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE COLUMBUS CREW?
The Columbus Crew was the brainchild of Lamar Hunt. Hunt’s vision for sports, especially football, with respect to America, was pivotal for the game’s meteoric rise and popularity in the region.
He was one of the key figures who made the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA possible. This certainly inspired a new generation of soccer fans and eventually led to the creation of Major League Soccer.
He is particularly known for his innovative concept of the soccer-specific stadium, exemplified by the 1999 construction of Crew Stadium in Columbus, the first of its kind in MLS.
In addition, Lamar Hunt’s contributions to the sport have earned him numerous awards and achievements, such as entry into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982, the Medal of Honor in 1999, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
CURRENT PRESIDENT OF COLUMBUS CREW; WHO IS TIM BEZBATCHENKO?
As of 2023, the Columbus Crew is led by Tim Bezbatchenko, who holds dual roles as President and General Manager. With a wealth of experience in the sports industry, Tim manages both the business and soccer operations of the club with a steady hand.
Prior to joining Columbus, he held high executive positions at Toronto FC and even in Major League Soccer. Tim’s contributions to the sports world have earned him recognition, including being named to the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list in 2021.
Since his appointment at Columbus Crew, Tim has been instrumental in several historic achievements for the club, which include their amazing run to victory in the 2020 MLS Cup. In 2021, Colombo Crew went on to win the Campeones Cup, their first international feather.
FANS AND CULTURE OF COLUMBUS CREW
The supporters of the Columbus Crew are passionate and dedicated to their team. They show unwavering support for the Black and Gold, cheering on their favorite players through both victories and defeats. These fans often gather at Crew Stadium or local bars to watch the games together.
They have managed to create an exhilarating matchday atmosphere on a consistent basis, with coordinated singing and chanting becoming a hallmark of Columbus Crew games. The fans play an important role in the team’s success and create a special energy that can be felt throughout the stadium.
The Columbus Crew has a rich and vibrant culture surrounding the sport of football. The club has a strong following of passionate fans, known as the “Crew faithful“, who support the team through thick and thin. This loyalty has been fostered by the club’s commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment at matches where fans can come together to celebrate their love for the beautiful game.
Additionally, the Crew has a rich history and has been a part of Major League Soccer since its inception, which has helped to establish a strong sense of tradition and community among fans.
STADIUM OF COLUMBUS CREW: HISTORIC CREW STADIUM
The Historic Crew Stadium has been a beacon for soccer enthusiasts across America. The last two decades have seen massive growth in terms of love for football. Renowned as Columbus Crew Stadium (earlier Mapfre Stadium), the first of its kind (thanks to Lamar Hunt) soccer-specific arena has been the home to Columbus Crew since 1999.
Its capacity, which ranged from 22,555 to 19,968 during its time as the home of the Crew, was optimized for the sport, making it a unique venue for fans to experience the excitement of the game.
Despite the team’s recent relocation to Lower.com Field, Historic Crew Stadium remains a testament to the passion and dedication of soccer fans in Columbus.
SPORTING RIVALRIES OF COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew calls the Historic Crew Stadium home. Moreover, it serves as the stage for one of the fiercest rivalries in the MLS, the Hell Is Real Derby, also known as the Ohio Derby, between the Crew and FC Cincinnati.
The Ohio-based MLS clubs square off twice a season as members of the Eastern Conference, creating intense matchups for fans to enjoy. The first meeting between the teams was in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, and since Cincinnati’s entry into MLS in 2019, they have met a total of 11 times, with the Columbus Crew holding the most wins.
COLUMBUS CREW KEY INDIVIDUALS
NOTABLE PLAYERS IN THE HISTORY OF COLUMBUS CREW
Over their history of almost a quarter century, the Columbus Crew has had the honor to employ the services of extremely talented players. Top of the list is US veteran Brian McBride, the first overall pick in the 1996 MLS draft. Next comes Colombo’s famed striker, Stern John, who scored 26 goals and 5 assists back in 1998.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the Argentine midfielder who won two MLS MVP awards and led the Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup championship, and Federico Higuain, Argentine playmaker and two-time Crew MVP
BEST MANAGER IN THE HISTORY OF COLUMBUS CREW
Gregg Berhalter is considered one of the best managers in the history of the Columbus Crew. He served as the head coach from 2013-2018. During his tenure, he led the team to multiple successful seasons, including the 2015 MLS Cup Final and the 2017 Eastern Conference Championship.
Apart from him, Greg Andrulis is another celebrated coach. He led the team to its first playoff appearance in 2002, guiding the Black & Gold to the Eastern Conference Championship.
Under Andrulis’ guidance, the Crew also claimed their first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title in 2002. As a testament to his success, Andrulis was inducted into the Columbus Crew Ring of Honor in 2011.
COLUMBUS CREW RECORD BREAKERS
ALL-TIME TOP SCORERS OF THE COLUMBUS CREW
Four out of the top five players on the top goal scorers list have hung up their boots. Only Gyasi Zardes is still active on the football scene, as he represented Austin FC. The most appearances (229) were taken by Jeff Cunningham, whereas Stern John made it into this list with the fewest appearances (70).
|NAME OF THE PLAYER||NUMBER OF GOALS SCORED|
ALL-TIME TOP ASSIST PROVIDERS OF COLUMBUS CREW
Again, all the players in the top 5 assist providers list have retired. Federico Higuain had 51 assists in 210 appearances. Whereas Warzycha made 182 appearances, Schelotto made 118 appearances to appear on this list.
|NAME OF THE PLAYER||NUMBER OF ASSISTS|
|Guillermo Barros Schelotto||43|
Who HAS THE MOST APPEARANCES FOR The Columbus Crew?
|NAME OF THE PLAYER||NUMBER OF APPEARANCES|
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE COLUMBUS CREW
|NAME||CLUB FROM||CLUB TO||TRANSFER AMOUNT|
|Cucho Hernandez||Watford||Columbus Crew||$10m|
|Zack Steffen||Columbus Crew||Manchester City||$7.5m|
|Lucas Zelarayan||UANL||Columbus Crew||$7m|
|Giancarlo Gonzalez||Columbus Crew||Palermo||$5m|
|Pedro Santos||Braga||Columbus Crew||$2.3m|
CONCLUSION: OVERVIEW OF COLUMBUS CREW LEGACY
The Columbus Crew SC has had a significant impact on Major League Soccer (MLS) since its inception. The Crew was one of the ten original teams in the league when it was founded in 1996, and the team has consistently been a top performer both on and off the field. The Crew SC has been a leader in the soccer community, supporting various charitable initiatives.
The team’s continued success and commitment to excellence have helped the MLS level up with respect to football all around the world. They certainly have found their footing given their impressive performances and have solidified their place as a cornerstone of the league.
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