Wednesday, August 17, 2016

8/17/16: Improved Ideas for a Columbus Crew USL Reserve Squad

In a meeting with fans earlier in the month, the Columbus Crew's Gregg Berhalter stated that Columbus is looking to create a Columbus Crew 2 eventually.

But, will it be under a "2" moniker or be a uniquely distinct part of the organization?

Either way is an improvement. But, which would cause the most improvement?

The two better, more unique ideas after asking around.

1. Pittsburgh Riverhounds as Columbus Crew 2

"With the Riverhounds not having a general manager or personnel director, could or would the Crew want to become a larger partner, have more say, and invest in more resources in nearby Pittsburgh. With so many MLS teams running their own USL franchises with success (NY Red Bulls II, LA Galaxy, Orlando City and Saturday’s opponent Philadelphia Union’s Steel FC), the prospects of Pittsburgh being a place for the Crew to operate its own team may be more and more possible then previously thought of at the beginning of this season."

This is from a Pittsburgh blogger.

Nice location, nice stadium, have been the team in Pittsburgh for a long while.

Actually, the first time I watched the Crew was here.

Washington Wild Things Consol Energy Park.

For peculiar reasons, the Crew played a mid-Summer friendly against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at this baseball mound back in 2005 or 2006.

This is a bit nicer venue.

The Crew in coordination with Pittsburgh could either start out with a Houston Dynamo and RGV Toros arrangement and eventually go for more. Or make that the end goal.

Pittsburgh Soccer Report breaks it down,
"The Dynamo are responsible for the tactical part of the club – selecting players and coaching staff. The ownership group of Rio Grande, Lone Star, are responsible for operations and day-to-day management of the club."

Or they could do more eventually. Leaves the door, in a way, always open.

I actually talked to a Riverhounds front office guy in 2015.

He was either third or fourth in the team decision making pecking order.

Was for my cousin's social website, Burgh Life. Cousin had an interview with a Riverhounds player scheduled but he knows very little about soccer, so called me to help. Had about a 20 minute relaxed chat with front office guy after the player interview.

He told me ownership stability has been a huge issue for them right before last year's upcoming season. They're better now (back in 2015) he said, than the previous year by a lot. But, this still all occurred after the new stadium.

So, even a nice little stadium downtown hasn't solved all their problems.

Maybe more of a deal with the Crew could?

2. Akron Crew

In association with the College Akron Zips, playing at their FirstEnergy Stadium.

From TKyle and Tobias at the Bigsoccer Crew forum:

"The team could practice M-F in Obetz and play on weekends in Akron to grow the market and the brand (black and gold, similar logo, somewhat similar thematic name)."

"If they chose to go with Akron, they could probably play at the Zips stadium. That would be easy enough."

One good thing is that FirstEnergy Stadium is right in the middle of campus, perhaps surrounded by 25,000 bored college kids who already get behind a soccer team rather well.

3. Columbus Crew II

Practice at same place as team, play at the same place. Practical reserve squad.

This could be the best option and idea.

The only reason I bring up other off the wall ideas is because creativeness is fun for me. For better or for worse, if you didn't notice.

Also, other teams have started doing the creative with their reserve squads. Bethlehem Steel FC (Union), Swope Park Rangers (Sporting KC), and RGV Toros (Houston Dynamo).

4. Other Location

I obviously don't have all the ideas, and sometimes the crappy with my first post, poll.

Where I've put the idea of another city in Ohio, no one has been big on a Dayton Crew.

Saying there's better places where there would be more appeal like Canton, Toledo, and even Cleveland.

One of the better names, if the Crew go that route was the Cleveland Generals (in honor of General Moses Cleaveland, the founder of Cleveland).

From Bigsoccer poster MLSinCleveland surprisingly :-).

Expect it to take some time

The Crew have said they want to build up their pipeline to justify an expenditure of a second team. But, should it take much more time than it has taken other teams?

From Catfish9:
"I'm not buying the "we don't have enough players in the pipeline" BS they've been feeding us. Think Swope Park Rangers are all former SKC acedemy kids? What about Los dos? NOT! You build your second team with homegrowns - yes, but also with other promising youngsters that didn't get drafted out of college but you've scouted, Some guys needing rehab assignments, some of your own draft picks that can't make first team YET, etc. You are still building from within. Still developing young talent. They are just sourced from various places. It takes work and investment to do it right. So what I hear the FO say is they aren't willing to invest and don't want to make the effort."

If fans haven't been bringing this up much in advance and Berhalter brought it up himself. Then why? This link hits both sides of the argument. We will maybe see.

I'm just going to be hopeful that the Crew get moving on it. Would be a much bigger move than a big signing.

Thanks to cyberslydr as well for Riverhounds blog story


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