COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced, in conjunction with U.S. Soccer, that Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has been appointed the Head Coach of the United States Men’s National Team, effective immediately. Crew SC has named Assistant Coach Pat Onstad as Interim General Manager and the Club has begun its search for new soccer operations leadership in collaboration with potential new Investor-Operators.
“On behalf of the Club, I want to congratulate Gregg and thank him for his visionary leadership and commitment to establishing Columbus Crew SC as a consistently high-performing, playoff-caliber team,” said Columbus Crew SC Chairman, Anthony Precourt. “Gregg joined Crew SC in 2013 as our first hire, and his dedication to building a player-first culture with an attractive style of play brought the club consistent on-field success. While it is never easy to have someone with Gregg’s integrity and character leave our organization, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Gregg, and we wholeheartedly support him in this endeavor. As a passionate U.S. Soccer fan, I am thrilled to see Gregg lead our Men's National Team and I believe he is the ideal candidate to help our country qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. We wish Gregg and his wonderful family the very best as they embark on this new journey. I expect they will make us all extremely proud."
Precourt continued: “In collaboration with potential new Investor-Operators, we have begun a search for new soccer operations leadership for the Black & Gold and have named Pat Onstad Interim General Manager. Gregg has shaped the Club into competitive form and upon his departure we are confident that the quality of our soccer operations, from the First Team player roster to the Academy, will attract a number of strong candidates capable of leading the team to further success.”
Berhalter steps down from the helm of Columbus Crew SC with a regular-season points per year average of 49.2, which stands alone as the highest by any head coach in team history. Berhalter led Crew SC to a 67-58-45 regular-season record in five seasons, with 67 victories ranking third in Crew SC history. Berhalter led the Black & Gold to playoff berths in four of his five years in Columbus, including a home trip to MLS Cup in 2015 and appearances in the Eastern Conference Championship in 2015 and 2017. Berhalter’s four postseason berths as head coach are tied with Tom Fitzgerald for most in Crew SC’s history.
“First, I want to thank Mr. Precourt for entrusting me to build and lead a competitive team in Columbus,” said Gregg Berhalter. “He provided the resources necessary to assemble a strong technical department and develop our style of play over the past five years. This opportunity with U.S. Soccer is not possible without the support he provided in Columbus and I will continue to cherish our relationship.”
“During this time, I was fortunate to work with high character players that consistently strove to perform at higher levels,” said Berhalter. “I want to thank all of them for their bravery and commitment to play our style of soccer, regardless of venue, opponent or magnitude of the match. They were dedicated in the work they put in on the training field, in the gym, during video sessions and off the field each and every day. I also want to thank my staff and the entire front office for their tireless work that is vital to the success of the team but often goes unnoticed and unmentioned. Their importance and contributions to building a strong, collaborative culture cannot be underestimated.”
“The memories with our fans are special and will always remain a part of me,” continued Berhalter. “I sincerely appreciate their passion and unwavering loyalty to the Black & Gold and I will never forget walking across the field to the Nordecke to express my sincere gratitude after each match. The support of the fans is what makes this sport special.”
“Finally, I would like to thank the Columbus community who allowed me into their lives, homes, classrooms, and businesses, and provided an opportunity to give back and grow as a person,” said Berhalter. “My family and I have so many fantastic memories that it would be impossible to thank everyone individually. Not wishing to exclude anyone, we simply say: thank you, Columbus.”
Looking forward, Berhalter continued: “The opportunity with U.S. Soccer is unique and holds special significance to me, especially as I have been part of its teams from the youth to the senior levels. Now is the right time for me to take this step in my career to play a part in an organization’s rich history. The process of continually learning and growing as a coach is never ending and I look forward to getting started on the next chapter.”
This past season, Berhalter led Columbus Crew SC to a 14-11-9 record, clinching a postseason berth and seeing multiple players earn several Major League Soccer year-end awards including goalkeeper Zack Steffen (Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Best XI) and forward Gyasi Zardes (Comeback Player of the Year). Crew SC posted a home record of 11-2-4 during the 2018 MLS regular season, outscoring opponents 32-21. The Black & Gold finished the regular season on a seven-match home unbeaten streak with a record of 6-0-1 dating back to a 2-1 home victory over Real Salt Lake on June 30.
Over the course of Berhalter’s tenure in Columbus, 21 players received international call-ups to represent their countries globally while a member of Crew SC. In that time, 13 different countries were represented, including Costa Rica (Jairo Arrieta, Waylon Francis, Giancarlo Gonzalez); Cameroon (Tony Tchani); DR Congo (Cedrick Mabwati); Finland (Jukka Raitala); Ghana (Mohammed Abu, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah); Guatemala (Rodrigo Saravia); Iceland (Kristinn Steindorsson); Iraq (Justin Meram); Norway (Ola Kamara); Panama (Cristian Martinez); Sierra Leone (Kei Kamara); Trinidad and Tobago (Kevan George); and the United States (Ethan Finlay, Michael Parkhurst, Zack Steffen, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp, Gyasi Zardes).
As a player on the U.S. Men’s National Team, Berhalter earned 44 caps with the Stars and Stripes 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 team 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.
Pat Onstad recently completed his fifth season with Crew SC in 2018 after joining the Club as an Assistant Coach on January 10, 2014. His 25-year professional journey spanned across Canada, Scotland and the United States. With 16 years of experience already under his belt, Onstad played eight more successful seasons in MLS with San Jose (2003-2005) and Houston (2006-2010) before briefly retiring and joining D.C. United’s technical staff as an Assistant Coach. Due to injuries to United’s goalkeepers in 2011, the then 43-year-old returned as a player-coach and made three starts in his ninth MLS campaign. Onstad returned to his coaching duties midway through the 2011 campaign and departed to become Chief Scout and Manager of Football Partnerships of Toronto FC in January of 2013. A three-time MLS Cup champion, Onstad was also a two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award winner (2003, 2005).