Crew Technical Staff
Sporting Director & Head Coach: Gregg Berhalter
The seventh Head Coach and first Sporting Director in Columbus Crew history, Gregg Berhalter became the boss of the Black & Gold – while also assuming the title of Sporting Director – on November 6, 2013. The 40-year-old joins the Crew 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 the Crew, 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.
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 been married for fourteen years, and they have four children: 12-year-old Sebastian, 10-year-old Santana, six-year-old Lily and six-month-old Delilah. The Berhalters enjoy traveling together, cooking, golf and reading in their spare time.
Director of Soccer Operations: Asher Mendelsohn
Asher Mendelsohn is in his first season with the Crew and joined the Black & Gold on November 20, 2013 as the club’s Director of Soccer Operations. He joined Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s staff from U.S. Soccer, where he last served as Director of Referees, Coaching Administration and Development Academy Programs.
Mendelsohn is tasked with overseeing the Crew’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.
Assistant Coach: Josh Wolff
Josh Wolff is in his first season with the Crew and joined Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s staff on November 20, 2013 after two seasons as an Assistant Coach on Ben Olsen’s staff at D.C. United. Wolff made the transition from the field to the bench as a player/coach in the Nation’s Capital after 15 years in professional soccer both domestically and abroad.
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 the Crew’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 Crew Stadium on the map globally in 2001 when he subbed-on for injured Crew legend Brian McBride in the 15th minute 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 (ten), Owen (8) Gavin (5) and Ella (3).
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Brook Hamilton
2014 will be Brook Hamilton’s third season with the Crew. He joins the club after serving in the same capacity with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL.
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.
Director of Team Operations: Tucker Walther
Tucker Walther is set to begin his 13th season with the Crew in 2014, having been promoted to Director of Team Operations following the 2009 campaign. Walther oversees all of the team’s preseason training camps, team travel, scheduling and administrative issues. He also works closely with the technical staff and players in the day-to-day operation of the team.
Walther came to the Crew from D.C. United as the club’s Equipment Manager in December 2000. While with D.C., he gained experience in marketing, customer relations, game-day operations and equipment management.
Following the 2004 season, Walther was named the MLS Kwik Goal Equipment Manager of the Year. He has worked with the league on MLS Cup 2000 and the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game.
Simultaneous to his time with D.C. United, Walther worked for the U.S. Men’s National Team and was also involved in ticket sales and game-day operations for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Washington, D.C., venue.
Walther is a native of Ann Arbor, Mich., and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC)
Team Operations Assistant: Ron Meadors
2014 will be Ron Meadors fourth season as the Crew’s Team Operations Assistant having joined the club in 2011 as an intern prior to promotion midway through that year’s campaign.
Meadors is responsible for First and Reserve 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 Newcastle (2011), Stoke City (2012) and Wigan Athletic (2013) when they arrived to play the Crew 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 Training Center at Obetz, Meadors has been given the title “Captain Ron” amongst players and staff alike.
Equipment Manager: Rusty Wummel
Rusty Wummel will spend his eighth season as the Crew’s Equipment Manager in 2014, having come to Columbus after spending the 2006 season as an assistant equipment manager with the Chicago Fire, a position he also held from 1999-2002.
In between, he was the New England Revolution’s head equipment manager from 2003-05 and he was named the MLS Equipment Manager of the Year following the 2005 campaign.
In December 2009, Wummel handled equipment duties on an 11-day Generation adidas trip to South Africa, during which the contingent had the opportunity to attend the draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In August 2005, he had the distinction of being selected to travel to Spain as the equipment manager for the MLS Select team that took on world- power Real Madrid at its famed Bernabeu Stadium.
Head Athletic Trainer: Dave Lagow
David Lagow is in his fifth season with the Crew. He previously served as head athletic trainer for the Charleston Battery (USL-1) from 2008 until he joined the Crew in 2010.He is a current member of U.S. Soccer’s athletic trainer pool. He served as Athletic Trainer for the full U.S. Men’s National Team during 2010 World Cup qualifying, friendly matches, 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2007 Copa America.
He has also provided athletic training services for U.S. Sand Soccer, U-23, U-20 and U-18 National Soccer teams, and in 2007 served as the Athletic Trainer for the U.S. Men’s Beach Soccer National Team during that year’s Beach Soccer World Cup.
Lagow also served as Assistant Athletic Trainer at Emory University (2005-2007) and the College of William and Mary (2003-2005). He received his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the College of Charleston in 2001 and his Masters in Physical Education from The Citadel where he also served as Resident Athletic Trainer from 2001-03. While in college, Lagow interned with the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Falcons. He resides in Columbus with his wife, Alison, and their dog Duke.
Assistant Athletic Trainer: Steven Purcell
2014 will be Steven Purcell’s second season with Crew serving as an Assistant Athletic Trainer after joining the club ahead of the 2013 campaign. His primary role is to assist the club's head athletic trainer with all of the club's training and health related matters while also handing the athletic training needs of the Crew Reserves.
Purcell previously served as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Ohio State University from 2011 with primary responsible for the medical coverage of the men’s soccer and softball, while his first year was with men's and women's swimming and diving and synchronized swimming teams.
Prior to Ohio State, Purcell was an Assistant Athletic Trainer at the University of Richmond from 2007-2011. There, he worked with the men's soccer and women's swimming teams. He also spent time with the football team that captured the D-I FCS title in 2008.
Purcell received a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in athletic training from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2005 and a Master of Science in kinesiology from Indiana University in 2007. While in graduate school, Purcell provided coverage for the men's and women's track and field, men's and women's swimming and diving and football teams.
Professionally, Purcell is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Ohio Athletic Trainers' Association, and the Greater-Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association. In 2009, his thesis on ankle range of motion was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Purcell, S. B., Schuckman, B. E. (2009). Differences in ankle range of motion before and after exercise in 2 tape conditions. The American journal of sports medicine, 37(2), 383-389.
He is originally from St. Louis, Mo., and currently resides in Columbus.