Sports fans in Ohio and around the country:
The Modell Law–decades after it was enacted after former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell sleazily moved the Browns to Baltimore back in 1996–has succeeded in helping to keep the Columbus Crew in Ohio’s capital city in 2018.
This lawsuit brought by Ohio Attorney General–and Governor-elect–Mike DeWine several months ago against Major League Soccer (MLS) and then sleazy Crew owner Anthony Precourt, was officially dismissed earlier today. In the case of the Crew, the Modell Law gave new owners time to make a legitimate bid for the team. And it worked. This leads us to today with an exciting announcement that was more than a year in making for fans of the original Black & Gold in MLS:
New owners have officially reached a deal (in principle) to keep the Crew in Columbus.
These aforementioned new owners are the Haslam Family of the Cleveland Browns and the Edwards Family of Columbus. The latter was led by now former Crew doctor Pete Edwards. And while these new owners have been known for a while now, it’s a considerable relief to know that legally there are no more hurdles to jump.
While I could post statements from MLS and a certain former owner on this development, I won’t. There are no apologies included and no recognition of the reality of this embarrassing and frustrating ordeal caused by Commissioner Don Garber’s MLS and a certain former owner of the Columbus Crew.
All that matters right now is the fact this special movement just #Lawyered a professional soccer league like Marshall Eriksen from ‘How I Met Your Mother.’
And it was legen-we don’t have to wait for it because the day has finally arrived when we legally #SavedTheCrew-dary!
P.S. The Ohio legislature should draft and pass a Precourt Law, if for no other reason than to make Anthony Precourt even more synonymous with Art Modell’s shameful legacy as a sports team owner.
Sigi Schmid, an accomplished collegiate and professional soccer coach in America, died yesterday in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center at the age of 65. He had been hospitalized for three weeks. The reason for his hospitalization was that he was in need of a heart transplant.
For soccer players who were guided by his wisdom of the beautiful game, as well as countless fans, this is devastating news. Sigi Schmid was a dominating force in MLS specifically and American soccer broadly. His coaching resume includes UCLA, a couple runs with the United States U20s, the LA Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders and the Columbus Crew.
As a lifelong Crew fan, Sigi Schmid unforgettably led the original Black & Gold in MLS to the club’s first-ever MLS championship in 2008. In addition to watching that title team play in Columbus throughout 2008, I was lucky enough to watch the Crew defeat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in Los Angeles with my parents.
That game and celebration were massive.
As is the legacy of Sigi Schmid for the sport of soccer in America. His roster for the 2008 Crew was full of players that weren’t household names in the U.S. yet they became just that when Mr. Schmid was done with them. Moreover, according to ESPN, he holds the honor of “the winningest coach in MLS history.”
Another part of his legacy was wearing a Crew scarf, regardless of the temperature. This tradition revealed his sincere embrace and lifelong membership in the Columbus Crew community.
RIP Sigi Schmid.
A win is a win is a win…
but is a win enough?
The Niko Kovač-led Bayern Munich squad in 2018–we’ll wait and see who the club’s coach is in the spring and fall of 2019–has received understandable pressure from the press and fans alike after a subpar beginning to the 2018/2019 campaign. Sitting at 21 points after 12 matches, which is nine-points out of first-place to heated domestic rival Borussia Dortmund, the Bavarian giants have showcased uncharacteristic weakness and lack of comprehensive identity.
It’s just not good enough.
So what better time (and competition) than the Champions League match against the visiting Portuguese side Benfica to reassert its dominance for 90 minutes?
Ladies and gentlemen, when you score off a short corner–a kiss of death for scoring 99.99% of the time–then you know the game is going your way.
A brace (2 goals) for the ageless #10 Arjen Robben and relentless #9 Robert Lewandowski led the Bavarians to an emphatic 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena. The Frenchman #7 Franck Ribéry added a laser of a goal in the 76′ for good measure.
Bayern Munich has proven that a win is, in fact, a win. However, is this one win enough to get Mr. Kovač off the hot seat?
Will the remainder of the 2018/2019 season be slowed down to analyzing this Bayern Munich squad, as managed by the enigmatic Niko Kovač, with a tirelessly critical eye on a game-by-game basis?
Welcome to FC Hollywood, Mr. Kovač.
P.S. Regardless of what the Bayern Munich business leaders are saying to the press regarding their coach’s job security, accomplished manager Carlo Ancelotti can attest that it’s the Bayern Munich locker room that will ultimately decide their manager’s fate.
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.
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!