Sporting Director & Head Coach
Now in his fifth season with the club in 2018, the seventh Head Coach and first Sporting Director in Columbus Crew SC history, Gregg Berhalter (pronounced: BUR-hall-ter) became the boss of the Black & Gold – while also assuming the title of Sporting Director – on November 6, 2013. The 44-year-old joined Crew SC following two years with Swedish club Hammarby IF, where he became the first American club manager within a top-ranked European federation. The Englewood, New Jersey native made his name as a professional player with experience across European football, the U.S. Men’s National Team and Major League Soccer. With Crew SC, Berhalter is charged with the organization’s head coaching duties, as well as overseeing all player personnel decisions following a club restructuring of its soccer operations.
Under Berhalter, Crew SC has reached the playoffs in three of his first four seasons (2014, 2015, 2017), advancing to the Eastern Conference Championship twice (2015, 2017) and MLS Cup once (2015).
The 2014 campaign featured a record of 14-10-10 in the regular season in Berhalter’s first year in Columbus. Berhalter became the only Head Coach in Black & Gold history to lead the club to the postseason in his first full year on the job without any prior interim experience. He was also a finalist for Major League Soccer's Coach of the Year award. Of the three finalists for the award, Berhalter was the lone first-year MLS coach. Crew SC closed the 2014 regular season on a 6-0-0 tear at home, outscoring opponents by a 15-2 margin over the span and the Black & Gold were not shut-out in the final eight regular-season matches.
In 2015, Berhalter continued his success by leading Crew SC to a 15-11-8 record (53 points), the second-highest point total in a single season in club history. He led the Black & Gold to their second-ever Eastern Conference Championship and a berth in MLS Cup. After the season, his career regular-season points-earned percentage of 51.5% stands alone as the highest by any head coach in team history.
In 2017, the Black & Gold reached the MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship for the second time in four years, having previously won the Eastern Conference Championship in 2015 en route to reaching MLS Cup. Along the way, Berhalter led Crew SC to a club record for most regular-season wins at home in a season, as the club finished the regular season with a record of 13-3-2 to surpass its previous record of 11 home victories which it had achieved on four previous seasons: 1997, 1998, 2008 and 2012. Crew SC also set a new club record for most regular-season points at home with 38 in 2017, two more points than the 36 points it earned at home in 2012.
Berhalter was introduced to the sport’s technical side at 1860 Munich, where he scouted opponents for the German club from 2007-2009. From his time in Europe, Berhalter holds both UEFA A and B Coaching Licenses. Berhalter began his coaching career in earnest as a player-coach in his final season under Bruce Arena at Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy in 2011. There, he prepared training sessions, video analysis and scouted opponents en route to the club’s MLS Cup championship. In the previous season, Berhalter helped the Galaxy secure the first of its two consecutive Supporters’ Shield titles.
In two years with Swedish side Hammarby IF, Berhalter posted a record of 18-11-16, securing points for his club in 34 of his 45 matches as boss. After inheriting a side that finished in 12th place in 2011, Berhalter improved the team to fourth position and during his tenure the club had the lowest goals against average in all levels of Swedish professional soccer during that timeframe.
Berhalter’s 18-year run as a professional soccer player saw impressive stays in Holland, England and Germany. In 1994, Berhalter departed the University of North Carolina and signed with Dutch Second Division side FC Zwolle. From 1996-2000 he split time in Holland between two First Division clubs, suiting-up for Sparta Rotterdam (1996-1998) before playing for SC Cambuur where he was a two-time Player of the Year and was voted second-best defender in club history. In 2000, he had the opportunity to play for England’s Crystal Palace FC in the Football League Championship. After reaching the Quarterfinal of the 2002 FIFA World Cup with the United States, Berhalter signed with Energie Cottbus of the German Bundesliga, serving as team captain. While with the side from 2002-2006, the club was relegated and then promoted back into the Bundesliga and the American captain was named to the club’s All-Time Best XI. He later signed with fellow German side 1860 Munich, playing at the club from 2006-2009 where once more he served as team captain. In his time in Germany, he made nearly 200 appearances as captain over the course of seven seasons. Berhalter returned to American soil in 2009, when he signed with Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy from 2009-2011, serving as vice-captain.
Complementing his domestic and international club career, Berhalter also earned 44 caps with the United States Men’s National Team and made his senior roster debut at the age of 21. Previously, he served as the team captain of the U-20 National Team from 1992-1993 and helped lead the Stars and Stripes to the Round of 16 in the 1993 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Although he would miss the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta due to injury, he remained as the Olympic team captain for the U-23 roster. From 1994-2006 he would see action in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 1999 and 2003 Confederation Cups – which included the third-place finish in 1999 – and a 1995 third-place finish in Copa America.
Berhalter and his wife Rosalind have four children: Sebastian, Santana, Lily and Delilah. The Berhalters enjoy traveling together, cooking, golf and reading in their spare time.