COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has promoted Crew SC Academy’s Under-19 Head Coach Ben Cross to the position of Assistant Coach on Head Coach Caleb Porter’s First Team technical staff. Cross, who holds a U.S. Soccer Federation “A” License and an Elite Formation Coaching License, begins his new role effective immediately.
With the addition of Cross, Caleb Porter’s coaching staff features four assistant coaches, including Mike Matkovich, Matt Reis and Pablo Moreira.
“We are pleased to promote Ben to the position of Assistant Coach with the First Team,” said President Tim Bezbatchenko. “Ben has been with the Crew since 2016 and brings experience coaching at the youth and collegiate level. His understanding and dedication to our Club make him a great fit for the First Team and we look forward to his efforts in his new role.”
Ben Cross joined Crew SC Academy as the U-17/18 Head Coach in October of 2016, before becoming the U-19 Head Coach. In June of last year, Cross was named the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Central Conference Coach of the Year at the U-18/19 level, while leading Crew SC to an Academy-best third-place finish at the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Playoffs. That same month, Cross completed his EFCL License through an MLS partnership with the French Football Federation that allows MLS youth academy coaches to undergo world-class training through a 14-month development course.
“Ben joined the First Team earlier in preseason and has impressed us throughout training camp,” said Head Coach Caleb Porter. “Ben is an intelligent, young coach with impressive drive and character. Those qualities, along with his understanding of our Club and his connection to youth development, were important factors in choosing to add him to our First Team staff. Ben will continue to be a great asset and I look forward to his contributions in this new role.”
Notably, Cross played a key role in the development of recent First Team signing Aboubacar Keita, as well as current U.S. Youth National Team Players Sean Zawadzki (U-20), Isaiah Parente (U-20) and Aidan Morris (U-18). Additionally, Cross recently represented the Crew SC Academy at the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago as a keynote speaker.
Prior to his time with the Black & Gold, Cross was a coach at Empire Development Academy from 2005-2016. During his 11-year tenure with Empire, Cross oversaw the U-11, U-16, U-17 and U-18 levels, while also winning the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Eastern Conference Coach of the Year award at the U-17/18 level in 2012.
While working for Empire Development Academy, Cross also served as an assistant coach for Nazareth College from 2006-2010 and as an assistant coach for the University of Rochester in 2005. While working as an assistant coach at the University of Rochester, Cross helped the Yellowjackets win the University Athletic Association Conference title.
In addition to his coaching experience, Cross played for the University of Rochester from 2001-2004. During his time with the Yellow Jackets, Cross was named UAA’s Rookie of the Year (2001), twice named to the First-Team UAA (2002, 2004) and once named to the Second-Team Northeast Region (2004). Cross’ 27 career assists for the University of Rochester rank him second all-time in the Yellowjackets’ assists leaders table.
Crew SC continues its preseason with the team in Charleston, South Carolina, until February 24. While in Charleston, Crew SC is participating in the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup, a tournament in which the Club returns as back-to-back champions. Columbus next faces MLS expansion side FC Cincinnati in the tournament on February 23.
The Black & Gold begin the 2019 regular season at home and will face the defending Supporters’ Shield winners, the New York Red Bulls, at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 2 at MAPFRE Stadium. 2019 Season Ticket Memberships are now on sale with additional information available via ColumbusCrewSC.com. Individual Match tickets – which include matches through the month of June – are now also available for sale online at ColumbusCrewSC.com as well as Partial Plans and 4-Pack Plus Plans, which include Opening Match and any regular-season match.