Columbus Crew SC’s 2019 coaching staff is back to full strength. The Black & Gold officially announced the addition of Ezra Hendrickson to the staff as an assistant coach. Hendrickson will replace Mike Matkovich, who was forced to leave the club due to health reasons earlier this season.
“We are pleased to have Ezra Hendrickson join Crew SC’s First Team technical staff,” Crew president Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release announcing the hiring. “Ezra is an individual who has been a member of MLS championship teams – including with Crew SC – as both a player and as an assistant coach, and he knows what it takes to win titles at this level. His ties and understanding of our organization make him a great asset for our Club.”
Hendrickson, who holds a U.S. Soccer Federation “A” License, has experience both coaching and playing in Major League Soccer, including suiting up for the Crew from 2006-2008 and helping the club to its first MLS Cup trophy. He began his coaching career with the Seattle Sounders in 2009, serving under head coach Sigi Schmid — who was recently inducted into the Crew’s Circle of Honor. During his time in Seattle, Hendrickson helped the Sounders win one Supporters’ Shield (2014) and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014). Hendrickson moved from assistant coach to the head coach of the Seattle Sounders 2 following the 2014 season. He remained in that role until 2017. Hendrickson then joined Schmid’s staff on the LA Galaxy during the 2018 season.
In addition to his MLS coaching, Hendrickson has experience working as an assistant coach for the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Men’s National Team. He served in that capacity from 2015-2018.
“Ezra brings over a decade of coaching experience at both the MLS and the international level, making him a great addition to our staff,” Crew head coach Caleb Porter said in the release. “We also believe Ezra’s experience as a top level MLS player will allow him to greatly contribute to the development of our players.”
Hendrickson, a fullback, played professionally for 14 years, including the better part of 12 seasons in MLS. He began his playing career with the Des Moines Menace in 1994, before joining the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers for two seasons.
It was in 1997 that Hendrickson made his way to MLS, making eight appearances for the New York/New Jersey Metrostars that year. After he was cut by the Metrostars, Hendrickson was picked up by the Galaxy and it was in LA that his playing career took off. Hendrickson played seven seasons for the Galaxy, making 139 appearances before he was traded to the Dallas Burn in 2003. The defender had a quick spell with the Charleston Battery of what was then the A-League but was brought back to MLS during the 2004 season by D.C. United. Hendrickson was selected by Chivas USA in the 2005 Expansion Draft but spent only one year back in LA before he was acquired by the Crew.
During his three seasons in Columbus, again playing under Schmid, Hendrickson made 60 appearances and scored two goals. He was on the bench for the Black & Gold when the team won its first MLS Cup in 2008, following a Supporters’ Shield-winning season.
Internationally, Hendrickson earned 123 caps for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, playing for his national team from 1995-2008.
Hendrickson is already working with the club, beginning in his new role this week. He will be on the sideline alongside Porter and Columbus’ other assistant coaches when the Crew takes on Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night.