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: Robert Maaskant
Robert Maaskant is in his first season with the Crew and joined Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s staff as an Assistant Coach on January 10, 2014.
Maaskant joins the Crew with 24 years of professional soccer experience, including the last 15 seasons as a Head Coach. As a player, he earned topflight stops primarily in Holland as well as a stint in the Scottish Premiership. In Holland, he laced-up for Go Ahead Eagles (1989-1990) and FC Emmen (1990-1991) before joining Motherwell FC in Scotland. When Maaskant returned to Holland once more, joining FC Zwolle (1992-1995), the midfielder played with the Crew’s Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter on Berhalter’s first club from 1994-1995. Maaskant would play with Dutch club Excelsior Rotterdam from 1995-1996, rounding out his eight-year professional career.
Most recently, Maaskant arrives from a coaching stint at Belarusian side Dinamo Minsk. His head coaching tenure has also included Dutch First Division and Second Division club management as well as time in the United States in the Premier Development League with the Houston Dutch Lions in 2012.
Maaskant’s career on the sidelines began in 1999 after assistant coaching positions with his former sides Go Ahead Eagles and FC Zwolle in Holland following retirement as a player in 1996. In his first Head Coach role, he managed RBC Roosendaal from 1999-2002 and returned for 2003-2004 after spending a portion of 2003 completing a second opportunity with Go Ahead Eagles. After departing RBC Roosendaal in 2004, he coached at Willem II in Holland during 2004-2005 and returned to RBC Roosendaal for a third time from 2006-2007.
Following a stop at MVV Maastricht in 2007-2008, Maaskant coached Dutch side NAC Breda (2008-2010). He helped the side qualify for the UEFA Europa League in 2009, ultimately reaching the fourth round of the tournament. Immediately following his time with NAC Breda, Maaskant found success with Polish First Division side Wisla Kraków, where he won the Polish championship in his first season during 2010-2011. Maaskant departed Poland and came to the U.S. for his time as Advisor and Head Coach with the Houston Dutch Lions. Later, he returned to Holland in 2012 with FC Groningen ahead of his most recent stop with Dinamo Minsk.
Maaskant is married to his wife Lijsbeth. He has three sons: Bo (15), Pepe (1) and Maas (two months).
Assistant Coach: Pat Onstad
Pat Onstad is in his first season with the Crew and joined Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s staff as an Assistant Coach on January 10, 2014.
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.
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.
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 as the team's Strength and Conditioning Coach. He joined the club for the 2012 season 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)
Equipment Manager: John Velasco
Equipment Manager John Velasco is in his first season with the Black & Gold after joining the Crew under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter on January 23, 2014
Velasco joins the Crew from A Creative Force Inc. / Nike Soccer where he most recently worked as the Regional Tour Manager, assisting in providing training sessions throughout the East Coast. Simultaneously, Velasco worked in conjunction with the National Youth Combine and spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach for the Kean University Men’s Soccer Program.
Before joining Kean’s program, Velasco’s collegiate playing career was split at both East Stroudsburg University and Montclair State University. Between universities, he spent time with the Premier Development League’s Ironbound Express (now New Jersey Express). While at ESU, Velasco helped the program to two conference titles and the best record in school history (19-3-1). After transferring to Montclair, he led the Red Hawks to their fourth consecutive NJAC Championship. Velasco stayed on the coaching staff in Montclair for a year after graduating and went on to coach at Bloomfield (N.J.) High School and various elite clubs throughout New Jersey. Velasco earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and Adult Fitness from Montclair State University in 2010.
The Dunellen, New Jersey native is single and lives in Columbus.
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.
Head Athletic Trainer: Craig Devine
Head Athletic Trainer Craig Devine is in his seventh overall season with the Black & Gold after re-joining the Crew under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter on January 23, 2014.
Devine, PT, ATC, returned to the Crew as Head Athletic Trainer after serving as a physical therapist and Head Athletic Trainer for six seasons with the Black & Gold from 2000-2005. Prior to re-joining the Crew, Devine worked as the Coordinator of Sports Medicine for Elevate Sports Medicine at Memorial Hospital Union County in Marysville, Ohio. With more than 27 years of experience, Devine also served as the Coordinator of Sports Medicine at Riverview Center for Orthopedic Rehabilitation from 1996-2001.
Throughout his career, Devine’s has held several additional positions across the sports landscape. He served as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Columbus Landsharks in the club’s inaugural 2000-2001 National Lacrosse League campaign and worked at the high school level with Bishop Watterson and Bexley from 1996-2000. Devine worked as a physical therapist for the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team, interned at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and has served as a soccer coach for Jonathan Adler High School’s Girls’ Soccer Program, a club coach for Elite FC and most recently at Fairbanks High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy and an Associate degree in Athletic Training from the University of Lowell in Massachusetts.
He is married to Rita Devine and has three children: Matthew (20), who plays soccer at The University of Findlay and is in the Physical Therapy program; Elizabeth (16), a student at Marysville HS; and Autumn (16), a student at Jonathan Alder HS. Both daughters play soccer as well.
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 beginning in 2011 and was primarily 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.