Admittedly, Houston hasn't been my favorite city I've visited with the Crew this season. It's extremely hot and humid, there's nothing to do around the team hotel, and nearly every restraunt downtown is closed on Sunday.
However, the Dynamo's new BBVA Compass Stadium has made up for the misfortunes mentioned above.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the stadium: there's a lot of orange in this place.
Outside the press box, images of various Houston Chronicle front pages over the past few years pay homage to Dynamo's short time in Houston.
A Dynamo legend overlooks the entrance to every lower-level section. For example, here's Brian Ching at the entryway to Section 125.
Here's the view from the north end of the stadium, looking toward the stage area. The dimensions of the field at BBVA Compass Stadium are 70 yards x 115 yards to suit the Dynamo's style of play and execution on set pieces. The MLS preference for pitch size is 75 yards x 120 yards.
In the southwest corner of the stadium is where the Dynamo supporters groups sit. No, Crew fans, it's not as big as the Nordecke.
Finally, and most importantly, the Crew's Equipment Manager Rusty Wummel was a happy camper with the spacey visiting locker room.
We should all take a moment today to thank the soccer lords for social media.
How else could a membership manager at Perth Glory Football Club in West Leederville, Australia connect with Columbus Crew fans in Columbus, Ohio?
It all started on August 1, when Chris Edwards individually tweeted all 19 MLS Clubs, asking why he should support each one. A few short days later, the Crew faithful had convinced Chris that he needed to be Columbus ‘Til I Die. In his words, the fans had been brilliant in communicating and engaging with him, which is one of the reasons why he was interested in supporting the club. But for Chris, being able to support the club didn’t just mean being a fan from afar. He wanted to make an impact all the way from Australia, but wasn’t exactly certain how to do so. That was how he and I became connected; one of our season ticket holders recommended he speak to me about some ideas, and we started exchanging (lengthy) emails.
We started to discuss the similarities in the two front offices—Perth Glory plays in the Hyundai A-League, which is incredibly similar in structure to Major League Soccer. Both our clubs played their first season in their respective leagues in 1996. Until Crew Stadium was built in 1999, we started our first few seasons playing out of Ohio Stadium (built for football). Perth has been playing in stadiums structured for cricket or Australian-Rules football as they wait on construction to begin for their updated venue. Michael Garcia and Bobby Despotovski, both former players, work with the club in their front office, just as we’re lucky to have Frankie Hejduk and Duncan Oughton working with ours.
Perth refers to their season ticket holders as “members” of the club, and as a membership manager, Chris works on building their season ticket base. I shared with him the details on Goal 10k and the importance it holds for our club as we get closer and closer to 10,000 season ticket holders. Perth, too, is seeking to reach new membership numbers this season, so we had much to share with each other.
As our conversation turned to talking about the benefits of young players being able to see the game live, it became evident how Chris wanted to support the team. In order to both contribute to Goal 10k and help our local youths, Chris purchased four full season tickets and donated them to Kicks For Kids, a program of the Crew Soccer Foundation. Through Chris’s donation, 72 kids will have the opportunity to see the highest level of the world’s beautiful game live in 2013.
Crew Soccer Nation, please be sure to welcome our new MASSIVE member, Chris Edwards to our family. From the other side of the world, Chris will be touching the lives of our youth right here in Columbus Ohio.
If anyone wants to connect with Chris Edwards…
Perth Glory FC
Written by Crew Season Ticket Account Executive: Melanie Seiser
Join us at Barley’s Brewing Company Ale House No. 1 in Short North (467 N. High St., 43215) for the official post-game party featuring Crew players and fans following Wednesday's match against the LA Galaxy! Enter to win great prizes and enjoy specials from Budweiser.
More info at - www.barleysbrewing.com
Greetings from Kansas City,
After going their separate ways for breakfast, the players and coaches gathered in the hotel lobby this morning to catch some Olympic action before embarking on the team walk through the city.
Following their Olympic viewing, the players enjoyed the sights of Kansas City on the team walk.
Eventually, the team found a nice shaded are to stretch and mentally prepare for tonight's match against Sporting KC. Eddie Gaven shared his veteran insight with rookies Ethan Finlay and Matt Lampson.
Finally, before heading back to the hotel to rest, these guys insisted on posing for a buddy pic:
Crew legend Frankie Hejduk took to the streets of Columbus early Friday morning on a trolley decked out in Black & Gold to rally fans ahead of tomorrow's match against D.C. United. Afterward, Frankie joined 99.7 The Blitz's Loper and Randi on air to help promote the match.
With training open to over 1000 local youth for Kids Day at Crew Stadium, Crew defender Josh Williams was showered with chants to dunk the ball over the crossbar. As you can see from the GIF below, J3 gave the kids what they were asking for:
Duncan Oughton's new feathered haircut inspired the debate of the worst haircuts in Crew history at Thursday's training. Here is the input from Crew players and staff:
Head Athletic Trainer Dave Lagow: Terrible haircuts I've seen: Eric Gehrig, terrible this year and the long, Beetlejuice, some would argue the Crypt Keeper from Tales of the Crypt to the terrible combover he has right now. Cole Grossman, last year just went in for a normal haircut and came out with an awful, awful child's haircut which led to him grown his hair out like a girl, terribly. But he's kind of got it back together now. Duncan Oughton, present. Rusty Wummel- not a bad haircut, but a bad style. I would argue, prior to my time, the Guille mullet was not a good look. I hate to do it, because he's been a great addition this year, but (assistant athletic trainer) Phil Watson had a terrible haircut this year, which he felt awful about. He needed a haircut, he had a very specific instruction to the woman and she ran with it and it butchered it. He was a Peyton Manning lookalike.
Eric Gehrig: My defense is, it was damage control…
Cole Grossman interjects: Can I just go on record and say that I've liked all of his haircuts? (laughs) I just want that to go on record to show that I'm his only friend, his only true friend that appreciates his hair.
Gehrig: My current hair situation is due to (a female hair stylist at a Columbus salon that will not be named) really did me bad.
Josh Williams: How much did you pay for that?
Gehrig: Fifteen or twenty. Then I had to go home, go shorter, and this is where it's at. But for sure, worst haircut on the team is Netzo.
Andy Gruenebaum: Everyone is going to say Gehrig. Gehrig had a Zack Morris phase. He's had a lot of different phases. I'm going to go Netzo. I don't know what he's doing with that hair. It's beyond anything a Jewish man could accomplish.
Equipment manager Rusty Wummel: There's been so many guys with so many bad haircuts… Manu (Emmanuel Ekpo), when he first came, it was pretty bad… Duncan never left the seventies. That's part of his problem, in general. It explains a lot about him.
Chad Marshall: The one that Duncan has right now. He asks for the Lloyd Christmas I think… I think it's straight Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber.
Duncan Oughton: Chad said that? He's ridiculous. Worst haircut… There's been a lot of them over the years. Gehrig's is kind of a lack of haircut. Obviously, front office-wise, Brian Bliss's horseshoes are less than average. Your red hair, Cody, it's struggling. (Editor's note: It's strawberry blonde.) Sebastian Rozental, when he was her had kind of a Worzel Gummidge thing going on, like a scarecrow cut. Bobby's mustache, in terms of hair was really bad and occasionally still is. As a consistent performer of bad hair, I'm going to say Danny O'Rourke. He thinks it looks amazing, but it's always emo, there's been cornrows at one point in time. It really just average… Also, Mike Lapper's hair hasn't changed in 12 years. It's the LEGO man clip on cut.
Danny O'Rourke: No comment.
Eddie Gaven: The worst haircut would have to be my army haircut from 2008. I tried to cut my own hair. It didn't work out too well, so I had to buzz it and it was real high and tight. I got grilled by the guys for a while from it. I don't even know if I had a beard back then, so I just looked really weird. That's probably the worst haircut in my time here. Basically, I'm throwing myself under the bus.
Congratulations local group Major 7 for winning The Crew and Power 107.5 Star at the Stadium contest! Make sure you are at Crew Stadium for their annual Red, White & Crew game this Saturday, June 30 at 8pm when they take on Real Salt Lake to see Major 7 perform the National Anthem. Tickets are still available – get your tickets today and celebrate the 4th of July with the Crew. Game tickets include admission to the postgame fireworks show! Click to buy tickets
Since its debut on March 31 in Toronto, Robert Warzycha has earned style points among the Black & Gold faithful for the sleek black Adidas jacket he's sported on the touchline. Every time the Crew head coach wears the jacket, tweets begin to roll in from fans asking where they can purchase the latest piece of outerwear in Warzycha's wardrobe.
The bad news for Crew fans: Warzycha's jacket is the only one of its kind that exists.
When I asked Warzycha about the jacket's origins, the Crew head coach replied, "It's one of a kind. I can't say."
To learn more of the jacket's mysterious beginnings, I consulted defending MLS Equipment Manager of the Year Rusty Wummel for answers.
"It's a one of a kind jacket," Wummel explained. "When the whole line changed over, because everything goes through a cycle and it will change over again in the next couple of years, that jacket was a prototype presentation suit jacket to be used for travel, appearances, and also for games."
"Somewhere along the way, that jacket was switched to our yellow hoodie jacket," he continued. "It was a prototype jacket that never made it through production"
The Black & Gold is currently undefeated in the five away matches (Toronto, Portland, San Jose, Seattle, and New England) that Warzycha has worn the jacket. Though Warzycha claims he's not superstitious, he admits he'll have the jacket handy during the summer months when it won't be needed due to the 90 degree temperatures currently blanketing Columbus.
"Some of the guys wear scarves even in the summer," Warzycha said with a laugh. "I'm at least going to have (the jacket) in the locker room."
Whether or not the jacket is responsible for the Crew's success doesn't take away from the jacket's flair.
"Superstition or not, we're doing well as a team right now," Wummel said. "But it is a cool jacket."