Thursday, February 6, 2014

Columbus Crew

The Crew are one of the most storied franchises in the MLS. The team was sold to a new owner in 2013, with the vision of making Columbus the Green bay Packers of soccer. So after the 2014 season, the Crew rebranded for a simpler design. The logo featured a bright shade of yellow to stand out, with a gear making a C as the center point. But all new uniforms wouldn’t help the play on the field. The team struggled due to big market teams taking all of the free agents. What they needed to do was set up a strong academy system fast. So in 2017, a new facility was built for the senior and junior players outside of town. The best they could do was build through the draft, the last few years the team hadn’t been drafting that well. They signed a new scout and head of youth development to help with the future of the team. The team had another losing season in the MLS, so the head coach was axed. They signed a coach from the USL to come in and turn things around. He had a 5-2-1-2 formation with the idea to bring in players that could help in the front. He signed an rom the Japanese National team, and paired him with the 4th overall pick in the draft. To bolster the back line, an Australian right back that was unsigned by Houston came in and got a starting position. The team showed signs of life, finishing above .500 for the first time in several years. The academy was showing progress of development when a core of 4 players from a state champion high school team joined the academy and turned heads. The spending spree wasn’t done, a midfielder that impressed in Charlotte was signed to help out, but the biggest acquisition in the off season was a goalkeeper from Akron taken 5th overall in the draft. The team had another solid season and went into 2020 as one of the teams to watch in the MLS. They were building an all around team. Going into that 2020 season, they picked up a 23 year old midfielder from Atlanta who was born in Mississippi. They never really had a strong leader, just a bunch of role guys, but after half a season it was apparent that he was a guy to watch. He led Columbus to their first playoff bid in a long time. This galvanized Columbus. The Crew and Blue Jackets were now potential championship contenders, and with their seasons hardly overlapping, the fans didn’t have to choose who to root for. The player began playing some games for the US National Team as the Crew improved. Ultimately, he made the World Cup roster. With the time for the academy to grow, and the increased support, Columbus became self sufficient in players. They eventually sold their free agents, only to replace them by draft picks and great youth players. The system was to bring them in as a reserve for one year, then would be a starter the next. They made a run to the semi finals before losing on a late goal to be denied the MLS cup. After the 2022 season, the Crew sold their big player to Schalke, and used the money to improve facilities at Crew Stadium. They also made a deal with the new Queen City SC out of Cincinnati. The team now added a step to the process, a year in Cincinnati then to the reserves as a way to get experience. The Crew were very talented and deep, but no one took control and that was the big reason they haven’t won a cup. Their players did win a USL title with Queen City, but the team couldn’t sign everyone, and many of that roster was dispersed among US Soccer. I wanted a new crest, but I felt like the 3 burly guy look wasn’t strong. I went with my simple gear logo. The crest is very rigid, and I thought that was better than any curves for a team like this. The kits have darker yellow lines like the crest. Nothing else is really that crazy!

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