On a cold and dreary Columbus day in March, Columbus Crew SC got back to training after their first off weekend of the Major League Soccer season. When the session finished, Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter took a few minutes to answer some questions.
Here are the updates Berhalter provided.
Conversation with Berhalter
- The Black and Gold's head coach was first asked about last Friday's scrimmage with the Akron Zips. He said it was good and Akron put a lot of effort into the match. He said Crew SC got what they want out of the game.
- Berhalter provided an update on midfielder Wil Trapp, who left last Thursday's practice in running shoes and sweats. He said he took a knock last week in training and the team was being precautions with him. He was held out of the game with the Zips and Berhalter said he was questionable this week.
- When asked about having Trapp called up to the United States U-23 team and not missing a Crew SC game, Berhalter said the U.S. Soccer federation was good and worked with the Black and Gold so their start midfielder didn't have to miss time (didn't call him in for the first game).
- Berhalter said he spent the weekend watching the Academy team play six games. He said he saw some good stuff and indicated there's a lot of work to do but there are good players in the system.
- The head coach was asked about his responsibilities with the Academy and he said the idea was to put the personnel in place and let them run with it. He said the hiring of Nico Estevez as Director of Methodology was a big win for the club and they want to continue to add people like that and continue to grow the Academy.
- Asked about how Estevez was doing, Berhalter said he's doing a good job. He said his job is to draw the line between the first team and the Academy based on the training and how each age group handles things. He explained that Estevez breaks down the system to the coaches and they teach the kids different aspects of it at different ages
- Berhalter said they are finalizing the paperwork to send Kalen Ryden to USL-PRO affiliate, the Austin Aztex. He said Ryden is the only player going right now but others could go during the season. The deal with Austin does not require a certain number of players to go on loan as the deal last year with the Dayton Dutch Lions.
- Berhalter said the staff considered the players (such as Justin Meram and Waylon Francis) who will be gone with their national teams during the season when building this roster and wanted quality players to step in for them. He indicated he wanted those players to take that opportunity and make their case to be starters.
- When asked if he feels better in this situation than a year ago, Berhalter said he thinks the squad this year is stronger overall. He did admit that it's up to the players to demonstrate that with their chances.
- Asked about the left back spot vacated by Francis this weekend, Berhalter listed Chris Klute and Chad Barson with Tyson Wahl available there in a pinch.
- Berhalter said Romain Gall was back training on Monday.