Sporting Director & Head Coach: Gregg Berhalter
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.
Mendelsohn is tasked with overseeing Crew SC’s competition guidelines and salary cap management, player identification and acquisitions, as well as assisting with the implementation of the club’s technical vision.
Bringing nine years of experience with the U.S. Soccer Federation, Mendelsohn first served as Member Services Coordinator for two years before the creation of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which emerged in 2007 as the top-tier for the nation’s youth soccer ranks. He transitioned to a role as Manager of the Development Academy for three years before accepting the expansive position of Director of Referees, Coaching Administration and Development Academy Programs, a job he held for more than four years. In 2012, he was instrumental in Major League Soccer’s formation of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), the group responsible for managing the referee program in professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada.
In his Crew SC Academy role, Estevez (pronounced: es-TE-vez) was responsible for developing and implementing the training curriculum for all Academy teams, while reinforcing principles of play consistent with the philosophy of the First Team throughout each level. He also oversaw the individual player development plan for each youth player.
He spent eight years in Spain with La Liga club Valencia CF in its Academy and Department of Methodology, which included a stint as Interim Head Coach of its senior side in Spain’s First Division. As Interim Head Coach, Estevez oversaw a league (La Liga) match against Real Madrid and a Copa del Rey match – Spain’s Domestic Cup – against Gimnastic de Tarragona.
Estevez joined Valencia CF in July of 2004, first working with the youth teams and later spending two seasons as head coach of Huracan Valencia CF in Spain’s Segunda Division B – the third highest level in Spanish soccer – from 2011 to 2013. During his two seasons in charge, Estevez helped the team qualify for promotion playoffs on each occasion.
In July of 2013, he was appointed Head Coach of Valencia Mestalla of Spain’s Segunda Division B. On October 21, 2013, the Comite de Entrenadores de la Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol (“Royal Spanish Football Federation’s Coaches’ Committee”) awarded him a Ramon Cobo award in recognition for his work.
Prior to his time with Valencia CF, Estevez worked with CF San Jose, a youth soccer academy in Valencia, Spain. He originally worked as a youth team Head Coach upon his arrival on July of 1999, overseeing the Under-12, U-14, U-15, U-16, and U-18 sides during his time there. In July of 2003, he was made Technical Director. Estevez also served as CF San Jose’s Director of Methodology from 2010-2011.
Estevez and his wife Amparo have two children – Sandra and Nico.
One of the most renowned goalkeepers in Major League Soccer history, Onstad is the League’s all-time leader in goals against average (minimum 15,000 minutes played), posting a career mark of 1.12. 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, including a five-save victory in the 3-1 United win over the Crew on March 19, 2011. 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), including his first campaign with the San Jose Earthquakes, in which he secured an MLS Cup victory. In his three seasons with the Earthquakes, Onstad matched his League goalkeeping honors with a pair of Best XI selections, helping the club to a Supporters’ Shield in 2005 with an unbeaten home record. His final season in San Jose also included a League-best 18 wins, 12 shutouts and 0.97 goals against average.
With the Dynamo in the club’s first five years in MLS from 2006-2010, Onstad logged 136 starts in regular-season action and helped bring Houston back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. Onstad’s saves in penalty kicks helped the club secure its first MLS Cup title during the Dynamo’s inaugural season in the League in 2006. In his second season with Dynamo in 2007, Onstad led MLS with a 0.82 goals against average mark and made seven saves in MLS Cup 2007. 2014 is Onstad’s 12th year in Major League Soccer across all career positions. Prior to his 2003 arrival to MLS, Onstad played for a variety of clubs, including the Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos and Scotland’s Dundee United. His professional debut came with the Vancouver 86ers in 1987.
In his first season in Columbus, Onstad worked with the entire club and saw specific success from goalkeeper Steve Clark, who was a finalist for the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year award. Clark made all 34 starts and went 14-10-10 with a 1.24 goals against average and eight shutouts, tying the goalkeeper for fifth all-time for single-season shutouts in a Crew SC uniform. In 2015, Clark again played every minute of every match and ranked second in all of MLS in saves, with 114.
Onstad, a Vancouver native, earned 57 caps throughout his career with the Canadian National Team, and is the team’s leader in all-time goalkeeper caps as well as shutouts (21). At the time of his retirement, Onstad was the longest-serving member of the squad in Canadian National Team history, making his debut on February 18, 1988 against Bermuda in a 0-0 draw. In total, the new Black & Gold Assistant Coach represented Canada in 15 FIFA World Cup qualification matches across three separate qualifying campaigns.
He began his career with the Chicago Fire in the club’s 1998 inaugural – and MLS Cup-winning – season and in just 14 matches scored eight goals, tying him with Crew SC’s Jeff Cunningham for a then-MLS rookie scoring record. Wolff would stay with the Men in Red through the end of the 2002 season and took home the 1998 and 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles before he was traded to Kansas City. Wolff posted back-to-back 10-goal seasons in 2004 and 2005 and secured a third U.S. Open Cup title with the then-Wizards in 2004.
In 2007, Wolff signed with Germany’s 1860 Munich and played two seasons alongside Berhalter, who captained the club from 2006-2009. Wolff returned to Kansas City in 2008 and in 2011 was picked-up by D.C. United, where he finished his career before a transitioning to the Black-and-Red’s coaching staff in 2012.
Internationally, Wolff earned 52 caps with the United States Men’s National Team from 1999-2008 and scored nine goals. Wolff helped put MAPFRE Stadium on the map globally in 2001 when he subbed-on for injured Crew legend Brian McBride in the 15thminute and proceeded to score the game-winning goal in the inaugural “Dos a Cero” victory over Mexico in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, held on February 28, 2001 in sub-freezing temperatures. Wolff was a member of the 2002 and 2006 United States FIFA World Cup teams, where he once again linked-up with Berhalter on the global stage.
In his first season as an Assistant Coach with United, the club clinched its first playoff berth since 2007 and held the best home record in MLS.
Prior to his rookie season in MLS, Wolff recorded 21 goals and eight assists in 43 games at the University of South Carolina.
Wolff and his wife Angela have four children – Tyler, Owen, Gavin and Ella.
In a move that showcased the club’s continued investment in becoming an industry leader in the fields of performance and sports science, Crew SC became one of just two teams in Major League Soccer to have a professional on staff in a similar role. Renowned for being the lone American in the same role in the Barclays Premier League for half of a decade, Tashjian is tasked with continuing to develop peak performance, health and wellness, sport science, strength and conditioning and recovery for the club.
Tashjian joined Crew SC from Barclays Premier League side Everton Football Club, where he served for five years as the Head of Sports Science and Conditioning and Director of End Stage Rehabilitation. During his time at Everton, Tashjian became well known for his innovative approach to player monitoring and performance development. While serving the club, Everton never finished outside the top eight Premiership positions, qualifying in 2009-2010 for the UEFA Europa League, appearing in the 2011-2012 FA Cup semifinal and finishing fifth in the Premier League in 2013-2014. During his tenure, Tashjian worked with a list of elite players including Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Tim Cahill, Louis Saha, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar, Romelu Lukaku and Leighton Baines.
From 2007 to 2009, Tashjian served as Assistant Coach and Head of Fitness, Director of End Stage Rehabilitation and Reconditioning with Columbus. He was a part of Sigi Schmid’s staff that led the Black & Gold to Columbus’ first professional championship with the 2008 MLS Cup squad, and was a part of back-to-back Supporters’ Shield wins in 2008 and 2009 in addition to the club’s 2009 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal berth.
Tashjian’s clinical experience began in 2002 as Physical Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Coach in Pasadena, California at the Competitive Athlete Training Zone (CATZ), assisting with the off-season training program for the LA Galaxy. In 2003, he left his position with CATZ to become Co-Owner and Director of Athletic Performance at Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center in San Diego, California, working with elite amateur, Olympic and professional athletes from multiple sports.
As an Assistant Coach, Head of Fitness and later a consultant for Azusa Pacific University from 2006-2008, he helped the university to a 2007 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship as well as runner-up honors with the women in 2007 and the men in 2006.
A licensed Physical Therapist, Tashjian is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Steve resides in Columbus with his wife Tracey and their daughter Olivia.
Handgraaf earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Movement Sciences from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2015. Following graduation, he joined AFC Ajax’s Physical Performance Department in 2015 before taking on the position of video analyst with AFC Ajax in 2016.
Handgraaf grew up in the town of Heiloo, Netherlands and played soccer for amateur club HSV Heiloo while growing up. He currently resides in Italian Village. During his spare time, he likes to play soccer and listen to music. Handgraaf collects vinyl records and loves all kinds of music, but considers Coldplay and John Mayer to be his favorite artists.
Zach Crusse is in his third season as the Director of Team Operations for Columbus Crew SC in 2018 after joining the club in January of 2016. During his first year in MLS in 2016, he was honored with the MLS Team Administrator of the Year Award presented by Sportscorp Travel.
He came to the Black & Gold after working for U.S. Soccer as its National Teams Coordinator for six years. In his current role, he oversees all of the team’s preseason training camps, team travel and scheduling. He also works closely with the technical staff and players in the day-to-day operation of the team.
With U.S. Soccer, he worked across all levels, including the Under-15s, U-18s and U-20s. With the U-20s, he worked two cycles, including the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey and the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. He also most recently worked with the U.S. Soccer Olympic Team at the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship.
Born and raised in Worthington, Ohio, Crusse graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Business. Following graduation, he worked as an Assistant Director of Marketing in the Bobcats’ athletic department.
In his free time, Crusse enjoys traveling, as he has been to over 50 countries and lists Dubai as his favorite destination. He lives in Columbus.
Brauzer joined Crew SC after working as the Head Equipment Manager with D.C. United, a position he has held since the start of the 2008 Major League Soccer season. He started as an intern with the Black-and-Red in 2003 before becoming the club's Assistant Equipment Manager in 2005, working mainly with the reserve team and assisting the First Team ahead of his promotion to the lead role. With D.C. United, he was named the 2014 MLS Equipment Manager of the Year.
A native of Woodbridge, Virginia, he holds a Bachelor’s degree from High Point University in Sports Management and Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.
In his free time, Brauzer likes to play golf and spend time with his family and his two dogs. He is married to his wife, Lindsay, and the couple has a son, Holden. He lives in Columbus.
Hamilton started his career in 2001 at the world-renowned International Performance Institute on the campus of IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., where he worked with athletes in a variety of sports, including current and aspiring MLS, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL players.
In 2009 he was named the head performance coach for the Guangdong Winnerway Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. He was responsible for Guangdong’s overall performance training protocols, as well as all pre- and post-practice/ game protocols. During his tenure, Guangdong won a gold medal in the Chinese National Games and a CBA league championship.
Hamilton also trained with Yi Jianlian, helping the NBA and Chinese international player prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and helped develop Real Salt Lake’s strength and conditioning program during its inaugural 2005 MLS season.
Alex Mysiw is in his second season as Data Analyst for Columbus Crew SC in 2018 after joining the club in 2017, having previously spent the 2016 season as an intern with the club.
He earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Denison University in 2014 and is currently working on his Master’s of Science in Biomedical Informatics at The Ohio State University. In his current role, Mysiw uses data analytics tools to help increase performance and decrease injury.
Mysiw resides in Upper Arlington, Columbus. During his spare time, he enjoys riding Arabian horses and participating in regional and national championships. In 2016, he placed took fourth place in the Arabian U.S. Nationals.
Meadors is responsible for First Team away match preparation, including transportation and dining logistics for the club while the Black & Gold are on the road. During the week, he is tasked with assisting in making, printing and repairing all home and away game jerseys, shorts and away game equipment, while also serving as the in-market equipment manager for the Reserve Team when the First Team is out of town.
Over the course of the season, Meadors also serves as a liaison to visiting teams including Major League Soccer and international clubs in town for a friendly. He worked with international opponents when they arrived to play Crew SC during the summer months. Upon the completion of the season, Meadors works with the Director of Team Operations to coordinate the club’s preseason travel plans.
The Findlay, Ohio native began his career as an intern for the Black & Gold while a student at Cedarville University. There, he worked in the equipment room, which oversaw equipment for all university athletic programs. Meadors graduated with a degree in Sport Management.
In his jack-of-all-trades role at the club’s Crew SC Training Center at Obetz, Meadors has been given the title “Captain Ron” amongst players and staff alike.
Before joining Crew SC, he spent four years at Northwestern University as the Associate Athletic Trainer for the Men’s Soccer Team. Prior to his time at Northwestern University, Shenberger was the Head Athletic Trainer for Case Western Reserve University.
Shenberger graduated from Georgia State University with a master’s degree in Athletic Training. Prior to that, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Capital University in Athletic Training. Shenberger has also regularly worked with U.S. Soccer at the youth level since 2007.
Shenberger lives in Columbus with his wife, Jennifer and his son, Shea. He enjoys running marathons in his spare time. The family has two dogs.
Givens has previously worked in Crew SC Academy matches, as well as in club scrimmages. He has a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from California University in Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in Science in Athletic Training from Wilmington College.
Short earned his Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Ohio State University in 2014. After fulfilling at one-year internship at Ohio State to become a registered Dietician, he then earned a Master’s in Kinesiology Focusing in Exercise Science from Ohio State in 2017.
A native of Archibald, Ohio, Short has lived in Columbus, Ohio since 2011. His hobbies include Gaelic football – a combination of soccer and rugby – as well as exercising and playing ultimate frisbee.
Velasquez graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in Sports Management. While there, he played on the school's soccer team and also interned with the coaching staff, learning operations and day-to-day logistics surrounding the successful operation of the team. After graduation, he took a full-time position as an assistant coach at Neosho County Community College in Kansas.
Velasquez was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. At the age of 16, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began his college career at the University of New Mexico, where he redshirted during his first year of soccer before transferring to Valparaiso.