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Hall of Fame nominee Gregg Berhalter is proud to be at Columbus Crew SC

He’s been all over the world, but landed in Columbus.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It was a bit of a surprise when the ballot for the 2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame came out on Wednesday and there were seven names listed with ties back to Columbus Crew SC.

The Black & Gold aren’t one of the premier teams in Major League Soccer. MLS does not feature Crew SC prominently in add campaigns or on national television. Yet the organization has had an impact on U.S. Soccer in its 21-year history.

“I think Columbus is a special place,” Black & Gold head coach Gregg Berhalter said this week. “I think it holds a special place in the history of the MLS and I think there’s been some great players that have come through this organization and that’s a testament to that.”

Those players that played for Crew SC include Jeff Cunningham, Eddie Gaven, Frankie Hejduk and Ante Razov, and all of them did great things in MLS, but they are not the only ones affiliated with the club.

Berhalter, who took over as the team’s sporting director and head coach ahead of the 2014 season, is also up for the Hall of Fame for his playing days.

“It’s humbling,” he said of being nominated. “I think when you look at the names on the list, when you look at the people in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame, it’s an honor to even be mentioned with some of those names.

“You put everything you’ve got into your career and you hope at the end of the day you’ve got something to be proud of and that’s all it’s about.”

The Columbus boss certainly does.

Berhalter spent most of his playing career in Europe, bouncing from Holland to England to Germany and finally back in the U.S. He finished his career with the LA Galaxy, and in the final season he was a player assistant coach under Bruce Arena.

He then went to Sweden to take charge of Hammarby IF for, becoming the first American to ever manage a professional soccer team in Europe. After a year and a half, he was fired by Hammarby.

Berhalter then spent time traveling around Europe, visiting various top clubs to better educate himself. He then spun that into a job with as the head man for Crew SC.

Although Berhalter’s Hall of Fame nomination has nothing to do with his time with the Black & Gold, he, like assistant coaches Josh Wolff and Pat Onstand, have now had an impact and immersed themselves in the history of the club.

While it’s an honor for Berhalter to be nominated for the National Soccer Hall of Fame, he’s also proud to be part of the Crew SC family. One with deep tradition and still growing roots in American soccer.