Gregg Berhalter’s Columbus Crew were busy making some moves this offseason. Defender Chad Marshall has been traded to the Seattle Sounders in exchange for allocation money and a 2015 third round MLS SuperDraft selection.
“We’d like to thank Chad for his many contributions to the Columbus Crew over the past 10 seasons. He was a part of some very good teams and contributed significantly to those results,” Berhalter told the media on Thursday. “Unfortunately in our League, in order to get something of value you have to make difficult decisions.
“This deal gives us significant flexibility to continue building our roster. We feel that this is the perfect time to maximize Chad’s value, and by us doing this trade, we have received that and additional resources.”
Marshall is Columbus’s all-time leader in appearances (253), starts (250) and minutes played (22,220), recording 16 goals and 10 assists in one decade of action for the Crew,
“I’d say to the fans, thank you so much for the last 10 years,” Marshall told the supporters this week. “It was an honor to play in front of them and to play for them. I’ll always be a huge fan of the club having grown-up here and the Black & Gold will always be in my heart. Truly, from the bottom of my heart: thank you. I wish you all the best of luck and I’ll miss you very much.
“There are so many memories over the last 10 years but obviously the one that sticks out the most was bringing this city its first professional championship in 2008. That’s the goal of every team starting out every year: to win it all. For us to do that for the fans and just coming together that year and working hard for each other and just truly caring about one another, it was really a special time.
“I’ll especially miss the locker room, the guys, the day-to-day interaction with everyone. It’s always been a club that has such a great locker room and guys that truly care for one another. I’ll definitely miss those times and be sure to remember them well.”
Indeed, Columbus are in a rebuilding mode heading into 2014 but despite all that, Berhalter believes that the Crew are going to surprise a lot of people who won’t have high expectations for the side to begin with.
“If you call it [a rebuilding year], I don’t think it necessarily has a negative connotation to it,” Berhalter told MLSsoccer.com’s Andrew King. “I don’t think it means we can’t perform. We still have talent on the field.
“We’re getting there. There’s still a couple of positions missing, but we’re getting there. They all can win a starting position. So right now, however many are on the roster are starters, as far as they’re concerned, and I don’t want to limit them. I want them to be able to give everything to be a starter.”
The club also announced on Friday that they will be partners with 95.5 The Game, who will be the official English-language radio affiliate of the Columbus Crew. 95.5 The Game is already the carrier of matches for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Strategically, we think having Crew games on a sports-talk radio format is a natural fit for our brand, and 95.5 The Game is a strong new station that is committed to building its professional sports products in Columbus,” said Crew Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mike Malo to reporters. “Being on the station that already carries the Browns and Cavaliers is a great spot for the Crew. They have also shown a real desire to deliver compelling soccer content in our market, and we look forward to partnering with them as we both continue to grow the fan base in our region.”
“This is a very exciting time for the Columbus Crew, with a new owner, a new Head Coach, new players and a new broadcasting partner,” added Jeff Sanders, Executive Vice President of Programming for 95.5 The Game. “All of us at 95.5 The Game are looking forward to being part of a new era of Crew soccer and a successful season.”