Blog Archives

#SavingTheCrew and U.S. Soccer

After a year of hell, the state of soccer in Columbus–and the United States–is back on track.

This time, when Crew fans chant that #HellIsReal, it’s a good thing.

We’re ready, FC Cincinnati.

Beginning this morning, reports were pouring in essentially stating the Columbus Crew–the original Black & Gold in MLS–will be #saved.

Actually, my mom tipped me off this morning via text while I was working on an unsuspecting Friday.

A mom who loves soccer and lives in Columbus? The best damn mom in the land! 

In a joint statement, the Columbus Partnership, Jimmy Haslam, and Dr. Pete Edwards, the Crews’ team doctor, stated: “While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with [MLS] to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward.”

-Jeff Carlisle, ESPN U.S. soccer correspondent

A rumored downtown stadium is also in the mix.

Major props to Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein for their legal work to #SaveTheCrew. And the major part–well, all of it–for this legal effort by Mr. DeWine and Mr. Klein is the Modell Law, which basically created a window for local investors to make a reasonable offer to keep the Crew in Columbus.

Quite poetic and perfect that the owner of the Cleveland Browns will be keeping the Crew in its hometown, isn’t it?

My favorite reaction today from a Cleveland Browns perspective is that Jimmy Haslam was thinking, “If I can’t find a good kicker, then I’ll just buy a professional soccer team.”

That was well played.

Deep down in my heart, I knew the Columbus Crew would somehow stay in Columbus. What did Joe Dirt say? “You can’t have no in your heart.” And now Columbus is reenergized to reclaim its rightful place as THE soccer capital of the United States, both on the pitch and in the stands (plus on Twitter).

After failing to qualify for the thrilling 2018 World Cup, the USMNT experienced an identity crisis, among other things. With the Crew staying in Columbus–the soccer capital of the United States–American soccer and the under-construction national team has a burgeoning identity rooted in the inspiring passion and relentless dedication of its fans.

Incredible.

The next step is revealing a sophisticated, creative and surprising tactical identity. That is still in the TBD-phase as the pursuit for a new head coach continues.

With the spotlight shining brightly on Columbus, the national media will now be forced to take note that goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defensive midfielder (and frequent USMNT captain) Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes make up the spine of the new USMNT. They come courtesy of the Columbus Crew. Just to be clear. And let’s also not forget that if an American is chosen as the next USMNT head coach, it will be the detail-minded Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.

It’s not surprising that when U.S. soccer started to plot against the Columbus Crew behind closed doors that its national team suffered similarly along a parallel path. It worked in opposite fashion in the early part of this century with Dos-a-Cero when U.S. soccer and MLS celebrated the country’s first soccer-specific stadium and all the talent that Crew Stadium was home to.

Time for the pendulum to swing back in the right direction and for the new Crew front office to be inspired by Lamar Hunt’s winning legacy. Lamar Hunt can rest a little easier in Heaven tonight.

The Crew is being saved. Imagine what could happen to the USMNT if they begin embracing Columbus again with everything–and everyone–its capital city has to offer.

P.S. For good measure: 

C-R-E-W, f*$! you, Precourt, we SAVED THE CREW!

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Mark & Ellen Are a Funky Bunch Together

Yes, it’s absolutely true:

Mark Wahlberg owns a Chevrolet dealership in Columbus, Ohio. It’s not a weekend publicity stunt. It’s for real. And along with opening a future Wahlburgers in Central Ohio–plus looking into becoming part-owner of Columbus Crew SC–he has proudly been promoting his new car dealership on local news and popular talk shows.

Exhibit E. 

As a Columbus, Ohio resident, I’m waiting to see Mark Wahlberg Chevy commercials, possibly including the one seen above.

Quiet Vibrations in a Wahlberg Chevy

Mark Wahlberg recently bought a Chevy car dealership in Columbus, OH. He is currently scouting locations for a new Wahlburgers around Columbus. He’s also expressed genuine interest in possibly buying and/or participating in the purchase of the Columbus Crew soccer club.

That’s what you call good news on all fronts.

While updates concerning the Crew and a new Wahlburgers location in Ohio’s capital city are in the TBD phase, Mr. Wahlberg recently gave people an impressive first impression of how well-equipped Marky Mark will be at selling cars.

Can’t wait for that first Mark Wahlberg Chevy TV commercial. It should be an action-packed blockbuster of a local TV spot.

Welcome to Columbus, Mark Wahlberg.

U.S. Soccer Is Acting Like Biff, Not Marty

That feeling when winning sort of feels like losing.

The United States, partnering with Canada and Mexico (United 2026), won the bid to officially host the 2026 World Cup. Beating Morocco, this victory is a long-distance–yet still unsatisfactory in the short-term–solace for missing this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

It’s great news on the surface, yet there are rumblings underneath that fuel discomfort.

The first discomfort is the reminder of no American team in the World Cup that kicks off tomorrow with host Russia vs. Saudi Arabia. The second and equally important discomfort stems from the list of cities submitted by United 2026. Of the 17 American cities, Columbus, Ohio is noticeably absent. Cincinnati made the list, which makes perfect sense since the city was awarded its MLS promotion, what, a week ago?

Unreal.

Plus, the rumored location for the 2026 World Cup final by United 2026 is the greatest soccer venue in the United States:

MetLife Stadium with an estimated capacity of 82,500. Remember this figure for later on in this article).

Unreal.

It is my analytical judgment that Columbus is The soccer capital of the United States of America. This is supported by extensive evidence both practical and philosophical. I don’t have time right now to dive into my dissertation on this subject, but it’s far beyond a mere opinion.

Anyways, the Columbus omission had to be due to lack of interest or just a failed bid.

The former seems implausible because of the 20+ year history of the Columbus Crew–including games and critical players to the USMNT–and its famous Dos-a-Cero matches, along with other USMNT friendlies and USWNT World Cup matches. I don’t have any information concerning the latter, but the fact nothing has come to light for that matter is not an encouraging sign for thinking Columbus simply failed to win a bid as one of the top 17 soccer cities in America.

Add in the 2016 friendly at the Horseshoe between European giants Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in front of more than 86,000 fans by comparing it to the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, which was attended by just shy of 75,000 people.

Just an FYI. History, fandom, and infrastructure (stadiums, hotels, restaurants, attractions, security, etc.) are all here and ready in Columbus.

Right now, I’m as happy about the U.S. winning the bid to be the primary host country for the 2026 World Cup (40 of 60 games in the U.S.) as I am about FC Cincinnati entering MLS next season. If one addition is at the expense of the other, which happens to carry with it unrivaled historical weight, then no, I’m not all that happy.

It’s a double-edged sword. If Columbus wasn’t being schemed against as an MLS team and as a leading soccer city nationally, then today would be one of much happier celebration. Sadly, that’s just not the reality. It seems, at least at this point, that Columbus is a primary target for removal by MLS and U.S. Soccer akin to Marty McFly’s family photograph in ‘Back to the Future.’

I thought the USMNT missing the 2018 World Cup was an embarrassing low-point.

I was wrong because this 2026 “win” feels like another massive loss for the identity of American soccer.