Since arriving in Columbus in 1996 when his father signed with the upstart Crew, Konrad Warzycha has dreamed of playing for the Black & Gold. Warzycha realized that dream on Saturday when his dad, Head Coach Robert Warzycha, subbed the midfielder on for striker Jairo Arrieta in the 86th minute of the Crew's win against D.C. United.
"This was definitely something I've been looking forward to for a long time," the younger Warzycha said after the match. "To get that first appearance for the Crew, especially with the crowd we had here tonight-- everybody was electrified, it was a dream come true."
The Warzychas joined Alex and Teal Bunbury (Kansas City) as the only father-son duos to appear for the same MLS franchise in MLS history, and Robert Warzycha became just the second Head Coach in League history to coach his son. Bob Bradley coached his son, Michael, from 2004-05 with the NY/NJ MetroStars.
"It was something unique and obviously I’m very proud," the Crew Head Coach said.
As a trialist, Konrad entered the Crew's preseason camp with a chip on his shoulder following his release from Sporting Kansas City. The former Ohio State Buckeye had to prove he was more than just the coach's son. After a strong trial, the Black & Gold signed the midfielder.
Warzycha went on to impress in several reserve matches early on this season, finally earning a spot on the Crew bench Saturday night. Donning the number 19 jersey his father wore so proudly from 1996-2002, it was the midfielder's second career appearance after playing one minute last season for Sporting Kansas City.
"I knew coming in that I was going to have to let my play speak for itself," he explained. "In the few reserve games we've had, through preseason and stuff like that, I kind of took it upon myself to work hard and work myself into the team."
At age 24, more playing time will surely come Warzycha's way in the future as he continues to impress his father and the rest of the Crew coaching staff.
"Obviously, he's a good player," his father said.
"He's progressing like the other young players in the club."