Crew adds Craig Devine and John Velasco to technical support staff

Devine returns to Black & Gold as Head Athletic Trainer; Velasco named Equipment Manager

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced that it has hired Craig Devine as Head Athletic Trainer and John Velasco as Equipment Manager. Devine – who served as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Crew from 2000-2005 – re-joins the Black & Gold and after working with Elevate Sports Medicine at Memorial Hospital Union County in Marysville, Ohio. Velasco joins the Black & Gold staff from A Creative Force Inc. / Nike Soccer while also working as Assistant Coach with Kean University (N.J.) Men’s Soccer Program.

“With Craig we have an experienced trainer in MLS and we’re delighted to have him back with the organization,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “He means a lot to the community and we think he’s going to be a good addition to the team. In John, we have someone who is motivated to learn this aspect of the job and he’s a bright individual who’s hard-working and has a good mentality. We believe that both new staff members are strong additions to our club.” 

Devine, PT, ATC, returns 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 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. 

Devine takes the reins from former Head Athletic Trainer David Lagow. Lagow spent four seasons with the Crew, having previously served as Head Athletic Trainer for the Charleston Battery (USL PRO) from 2008 until he joined the Crew in 2010. Lagow – a current member of U.S. Soccer’s athletic trainer pool – 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. 

The club’s new Equipment Manager, 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.

With the hire, Velasco replaces former Equipment Manager Rusty Wummel who departs the Crew after seven seasons. Wummel joined the Black & Gold staff following the 2006 season after serving as an Assistant Equipment Manager with the Chicago Fire, a position he also held from 1999-2002. In between, Wummel was the New England Revolution’s Head Equipment Manager from 2003-2005 and he was named the MLS Equipment Manager of the Year following the 2005 campaign. 

The Crew begins the 2014 season at D.C. United on Saturday, March 8. Before then, players report for preseason camp on Friday, January 24 ahead of two separate training trips to Florida with a week of training back in Columbus in between. For more information on catching the Black & Gold in 2014 – visit TheCrew.com/tickets. Single-match tickets for all Crew regular-season home games in 2014 are now on sale. Prices range from $23 to $50 for advanced purchases, and through a special limited-time offer, all tickets purchased by midnight on Friday, January 24 are not subject to any online fees.