Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Crew announced on Wednesday that former United States international Gregg Berhalter has been appointed as the club's seventh head coach.
Berhalter has spent the past 18 months in charge of Swedish side Hammarby after starting his coaching career as a player/assistant coach with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011.
The 40-year-old has also been installed in a new role as sporting director in charge of all player personnel decisions with the Crew, a position the club has not previously had.
"We are thrilled to conclude this expansive and thorough search for our next leader, a process that spanned three continents," said Crew chairman and owner-operator Anthony Precourt in a statement. "Gregg's strong vision, passion, work ethic, intelligence, data-driven decision making, broad soccer network and playing credentials separated him throughout this search."
Berhalter takes over for interim head coach Brian Bliss, who took charge of the team midway through this past season after the departure of Robert Warzycha.
Bliss served as the technical director of the Crew for the past six seasons, but he leaves both posts having led a late-season surge for a playoff spot that fell a little short.
"I am excited about the opportunity to join one of Major League Soccer's original clubs. The Crew has a strong history of winning and a dedicated fan base, and I aim to bring a style of play that resonates with our supporters and results that will make the city proud," said Berhalter.
"I am eager to get started, and my immediate priority is to reach out to the players and share our new vision for the club as we move forward."
As a player Berhalter enjoyed an 18-year career that included stops in the Netherlands, Germany and England as well as a three-year stint in MLS with the Galaxy.
He also earned 44 caps with the U.S. national team and took part in both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.