Crew names Pat Onstad and Rob Maaskant to coaching staff

Berhalter adds two Assistant Coaches to his technical staff

Pat Onstad Rob Maaskant

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COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced that it has hired MLS stalwart Pat Onstad and European football veteran Rob Maaskant as Assistant Coaches. Both join Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s staff effective immediately. Per club and MLS policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

“Both of today’s hires make our club stronger heading into the 2014 season,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Pat is very professional in how he approaches the game, and he brings versatility to his new role. He has great League experience and a winning pedigree, and those are attributes that attracted us to bringing him onboard. Rob brings a wealth of experience to the table and tactical knowledge to the first team from his career across Europe. He’s also going to be a strong resource for our club.”  

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. 

“Pat is good teacher. As an Assistant Coach, he’s going to be involved in multiple facets of our technical operations,” said Berhalter. “Obviously with his extensive experience at the goalkeeper position he’s going to work closely with our keepers and make sure they’re ready for 2014. I know he’s excited to work with our guys and they will benefit from his knowledge.”

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.

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.

“I played with Rob at Zwolle for a year, and we’ve kept in contact throughout our careers,” commented Berhalter. “I’ve followed his coaching career and he is a person I’ve reached out to about the game and overall soccer philosophy. His background is so diverse and he brings decades of experience to our club from his playing and coaching careers.”

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.

The Crew begins the 2014 season at D.C. United on Saturday, March 8. Before then, the club continues preparation for the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and preseason training.