Monday, December 22, 2008

12/22/08: Official Robert Warzycha Is The Crew Head Coach

Official Press Release from Crew.Com:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew has announced that former Crew standout and longtime assistant coach Robert Warzycha has been named the fifth head coach in club history. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"There was significant interest in our head coaching position and we considered several candidates, but none of them brought more soccer expertise, experience or potential to lead our club than Robert Warzycha," said Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers. "And certainly, none approached the commitment and loyalty to the Crew that he possesses.

"Robert's resume is impressive, from his playing experience in the English Premier League and at the international level to his experience playing and coaching in Major League Soccer. He was influential in building our program and understands what has made us successful, but he also has the vision to put his stamp on this team with his own brand of soccer. He is one of the most knowledgeable soccer minds in our league and he's ready to assume the head coaching responsibilities of our club."

A 45-year-old native of Siemkowice, Poland, and naturalized U.S. citizen, Warzycha is one of the Crew's all-time greats on the field, who recently completed his seventh season on the club's coaching staff and sixth as a full-time assistant. In the midst of that tenure, Warzycha distinguished himself during a 16-game stint as interim head coach from July 12, 2005 through the end of that season. Warzycha took over a 4-10-2 team and went 7-6-3 the rest of the way.

Following that season, he accepted the club's offer to remain on staff as Sigi Schmid's top assistant and became the first Crew assistant ever to sign a multi-year contract. Over the next three years, he played a vital role in the construction and development of the most successful team in club history. The 2008 Crew won the Supporters' Shield with a 17-7-6 record and 57 points, then went on to claim the club's first MLS Cup championship.

"I would like to thank the Hunt Family and Mark McCullers for this opportunity," Warzycha said. "My family and I have been with the Crew and called central Ohio home for the last 12-and-a-half years and I am looking forward to this next chapter, leading the club as its head coach. I am proud to have been with the Crew since the first season and that I will have the opportunity to lead it into its 14th as MLS Cup champions."

Warzycha's retirement as a player following the 2002 season capped a highly decorated, 16-year playing career. He remains the club's all-time career assists leader, with 61, and ranks fifth in games played (160) and fourth in points (99). He added 19 goals in regular-season play and finished with two goals and nine assists in 17 career playoff games.

One of the more successful international signings in MLS history, Warzycha was a two-time MLS All-Star and the Crew's team MVP in 2000. He is perhaps best remembered for his set-piece proficiency. He spent the 2002 U.S. Open Cup championship season as a player/assistant coach, before moving to the sidelines full-time in 2003.

Prior to joining the Crew, Warzcha made 47 appearances with the Polish National Team from 1988-95 and enjoyed a three-year stint with Everton of the English Premier League (1991-94), among many career highlights.

Warzycha and his wife, Eliza, have three children, sons Konrad and Bartosz, both of whom play collegiate soccer (at Ohio State and Marshall, respectively), and daughter Olivia.


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