Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Columbus Crew 2 General Manager is Corey Wray

Bezbatchenko and Wray working Soccernomics in the past for Toronto FC. Now to be reunited at Columbus Crew.

In a rather remarkable rise up a sport's teams front office ladder, Corey Wray went from being the fresh out of college intern to becoming Toronto FC's Assistant GM.


Wray's internship began with Toronto FC in 2006 when the club commenced. Wray continued with TFC until his eventual ascent to their Assistant GM position in 2017. 


"For me, to be here since Day 1, and to work my way up from an intern, and even before that as someone who dreamed to work at a soccer club anywhere in the world, to just go through this journey has been pretty remarkable." 


Now Wray will continue that progress at the Columbus Crew under his former boss Tim Bezbatchenko. Tim made the Toronto to Columbus swap a year prior as General Manager.


Wray will become the Columbus Crew 2 General Manager, along with continuing as Assistant Manager to Bezbatchenko's General Manager role for the senior team. 

A nice find by u/JaneAndWilliamPitt

Before Wray was Assistant General Manager at TFC, he was involved in building up the Toronto FC academy along with nearly everything else.

Shortly after BMO Field officially opened in Toronto, Wray was hired on full time as the Coordinator of Team Operations, developing player pathways, providing administrative support  and working on building the Toronto FC Academy, the Major League Soccer club's development system.

"The league at the time put out a mandate that our club was to create the academy structure and look at best practices. I was proud to be a part of that as I transitioned roles with the team," said Wray. 

 Wray has been through it all at Toronto FC. 

"I've been told that [I should write a tell-all book]. I know where all the bodies are buried."

Toronto FC failed to make the playoffs in each of their first eight season in MLS, hired and then fired coaches, and the player turnover was massive - tested Wray's resolve, too.

"We all struggled with it from a morale standpoint. We always had good people in here behind the scenes, and they were trying, but sometimes it just wasn't working. We either didn't have the patience to stick with something, or we stuck with things too long. The league was growing so rapidly that we were always trying to catch up. Sometimes we were just making decisions too quickly or not quickly enough."

But eventually Wray was paramount in helping build Toronto FC into a success.

The 35 year old Wray will now continue his career by helping to build Columbus Crew 2. Welcome!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Columbus Crew getting back in the player acquisition business

From July 8th to August 11th the Columbus Crew will participate in a month long World Cup-ish tournament in Orlando for a 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League spot.

The stronger teams in the tournament will also gain more regular season points for the first half of the season missed. 

So may be a bit of an intense month.

The regular season will resume afterwards.

For the tournament and whatever regular season remains, another interesting curveball is that the IFAB (International Football Association Board) will allow five substitutes per match for any leagues resuming in 2020 after the Coronavirus pandemic

Believe IFAB wanted to keep the games moving so those five substitutions have to happen in a team's three substitution periods. 

Regardless should be welcome news for Columbus especially. The Crew are a much deeper team after this past offseason and could really put that to use in Orlando.

In fact, appears Columbus may make a move or two to increase that depth even more so. 

Second thought someone in the front office has a friend in Cruz Azul.

Last Thursday the Columbus Crew were reported to have an interest in 26 year old Ecuadorian Jonathan Borja

View image on Twitter

The central midfielder Borja received his first cap with Ecuador last year. In addition, Borja's loan move to Cruz Azul was his first non-Ecuadorian team. So his stock has risen. 

Nevertheless, when his loan is up in December Cruz Azul has stated that they'll make the move to Cruz Azul permanent. 

So not sure point of sharing. 

Which makes me think there's actually more to. 

And then Sunday the Columbus Crew were reported to be after 19 year old Mexican U-23 starlet Santiago Gimenez

The forward Gimenez was reported to be in the sights of both the Columbus Crew and D.C. United but the Crew have already made an offer.

Not sure how the transfer markets work currently, but if Cruz Azul accepts could be plus one in Orlando.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Nordecke History: Early days of Nordecke supporter displays

There were banners before of course. 

However, in synchronicity with the  Nordecke's creation, 2008 and 2009 efforts got the artistic side of soccer fandom in Columbus, Ohio moving downhill I believe.  

Most of the rail banners were Rick Thomas's handiwork then.

On my end, my first one wasn't magnificient at all.

And had my parents thinking I was relatively insane for doing literally.

Yet started the ball rolling on my end.

For the playoffs against the Chicago Fire in 2008 I tried again with an elaborate concept and such a professional mockup. 😅⬇️

Didn't come out exactly like my above design. 

But the most important task to accomplish then was a visible attempt:

The two to the left were mine the first one was the previous used one, next one was Rick Thomas's doing, threw in the team jersey just to have something covering more area, CSU's additions were to the right.

Was something. The first attempt at a significant crowd banner display in the Nordecke.

Becomes addictive. 

Because Toronto brought it hard for the opener in 2008. I and some others wanted something big for the 2009 opener against them. My idea submission on BigSoccer was to get a massive two stick display rolling.

My thoughts were everyone can make their own. No need for a big gathering as we weren't organized then to do one.

Some were on board, some not so much.

Mine with mixed results lol but hey freehanded:

Rick's used a projector I figure so much better results:


Many others brought one or two and led to this:

Afterwards, with help from others (Blake Compton, Jeromi Rogers, Kevin McCullough, and etc.) finally got more into the projector game. 

Made these banners with those guys, Compton's warehouse space definitely was awesome at that time:

Ugh a strange idea on my end lol:

But got the banner life moving: 

This one was put together on a bar rooftop in Columbus. Whichever Crew bar was in front of Kroger in German Village for a bit then:

On my end didn't have the projector life going on by myself so eventually got pretty decent at freehanding:

Nordecke one to right above was me as well and below freehanded these for CCL against Cruz Azul:
Image may contain: one or more people

All of these images and more can be found here from back then. LINK.

I got out of the banner game by 2010. I'm sure others have had shambolic first attempts and then better ones. 

If you feel like sharing feel free and will make another post.