Berhalter: FIFA World Cup nods a “culmination of hard work”

Crew boss speaks about the experience of soccer’s biggest stage

Michael Parkhurst Gregg Berhalter

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As a two-time FIFA World Cup veteran himself, Columbus Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach knows what Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis are going through.

Berhalter was a member of the United States squad in both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, starting knockout stage matches in 2002 against Mexico and Germany. Although Parkhurst, Gonzalez and Francis are all potential first-time FIFA World Cup participants, Berhalter said he didn’t have any direct words of advice for the Crew trio about the event, but rather was there to help them along the process of getting nominated.

“You talk about the event, you talk about the magnitude of the event and how enjoyable it is, what it means to the world and it being such a huge event; it’s amazing,” said Berhalter. “But, I think for them, it was more the weeks leading up to it. I was more conscious of some of the mental stress they were going through in terms of preparing for it.”

Berhalter continued by saying that, when he was a player at the FIFA World Cup, he remembers watching other teams’ matches on a daily basis when the United States had an off day.

“To me, it represented a culmination of hard work throughout your career,” said the Crew boss. “You put yourself in position with your club team to make the national team, and then to go on and play in the World Cup is really the result of a lot of hard work over the years.

“It can be a really enjoyable experience. It’s a tournament, and its great when you start seeing some of the group games. It gets exciting. It was very memorable for me.”