CARSON, Calif. – Former LA Galaxy assistant coach Gregg Berhalter has returned to the coaching ranks after being appointed head coach and sporting director of the Columbus Crew on Thursday.
The former LA Galaxy defender and longtime U.S. international was not well-hyped candidate for the position but beat out reported interest from Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel, former Columbus Crew legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and interim head coach Brad Bliss.
After serving as a player coach during the Galaxy's 2011 MLS Cup winning season, Berhalter moved on to manage Swedish side Hammarby IF –becoming the first American to manage a European club-- where he managed until the 2013 campaign when he was dismissed with an 18-11-16 record over two years.
It's good. It's a great appointment and we wish him the best. He's a good young coach and he's got a great future, I'm hopeful that it is a good opportunity for him," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "[He had a] thirst to learn and a lot of energy to learn about his profession [as a player]. He's got a good foundation in coaching now and the essential tools to be a good head coach. He has the makeup of a coach for sure."
Associate head coach Dave Sarachan agrees.
"He's a student of the game. He loves the game and he's very passionate, and very driven. I think that he's now had some experience as a head coach which I think that he's going to learn from," said Sarachan, who said that Berhalter's 'outside the box thinking' was key to his development as a Galaxy assistant. "Having played in our league, he has an understanding of what it takes to be in our league. He checks a lot of the boxes that it takes to be successful."