The Columbus Crew has hosted the likes of Stoke City, Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic for international friendlies at Crew Stadium in recent years. That tradition continues in 2014 with the news that Crystal Palace is set to visit Columbus on July 23. Here are some fast facts about the English club:
Crystal Palace played in the English Premier League this past season, after earning promotion following a victory in the 2013 Championship playoffs. A penalty by Kevin Phillips sent Crystal Palace to the Premier League for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and they will remain there in 2014-15 after finishing 11th in their return to the top flight.
The club is nicknamed the “Eagles,” and an eagle features prominently on their crest. The current club crest was redesigned prior to the team returning to the Premier League in 2013, but the crest displayed on the club’s shirts has featured an eagle in some form since 1987. The club has a live American bald eagle, named Kayla, as its mascot.
Crew boss Gregg Berhalter played for Crystal Palace from 2001-2002, making 19 appearances and scoring one goal for the Eagles. Berhalter is one of two Americans to ever play for Crystal Palace, joining current LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski.
Crystal Palace was founded in 1905. It played its first match on September 2 of that year against Southampton Reserves in the Southern League Division Two. They lost that match, 4-3, but did not lose another game for the entirety of the season, earning promotion to the Southern League Division One. They worked their way up the rungs to the First Division in 1969, then the highest tier in English football.
The club is managed by Tony Pulis, a native of Wales, who was appointed to the post last November. He previously had an eight-year spell as manager of Stoke City. The club’s leading goal-scorer in all 2013-14 competitions was striker Dwight Gayle, its captain is Australian midfielder Mile Jedinak and its roster also features former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh.