Dante Washington is returning to the Columbus Crew SC organization for the third time in his career. This time, however, he will not be suiting up for the Black & Gold, at least not on the field.
The Crew announced on Tuesday the appointment of Washington as the club’s Director of Team Strategic Partnerships and Business Development. In this role, Washington will be in charge of youth player development affiliation outreach, alumni relations for the club, establishing a mentorship program for the Crew Academy players and other business opportunities to connect with the community.
“We are pleased to announce that Dante Washington will be joining the Crew SC Front Office,” Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “Dante’s professional expertise along with his history with the Club make him a great addition to the Crew SC Front Office. He is a great ambassador for the sport in our community and we can think of no one better to serve as a mentor for Crew SC Academy players.”
Washington spent six season during his playing career with the Crew, spread over three stints. He signed with the Black & Gold during Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996 but was traded to the Dallas Burn for the rights to goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Washington spent the next three and a half seasons with the Burn before he was traded back to Columbus in 2000. He remained with the club until 2002, helping the Crew win its first U.S. Open Cup title, before he was released and subsequently brought back late in 2004.
In total, Washington made 76 appearances for the Black & Gold, scoring 28 goals and providing 14 assists. In addition to helping Columbus win the Open Cup, Washington also was a part of the 2004 Supporters’ Shield-winning team.
Over his 13-year playing career, Washington, who also played for Real Salt Lake in 2005, made 170 MLS appearances while scoring 52 goals and registering 32 assists. He was twice named to the MLS All-Star team (1997 and 2000). He also earned six caps with the United States Men’s National Team, scoring two goals.
The Crew ended its exclusive relationship with Sporting Columbus, a player development group that was forged under previous ownership. The club is currently re-evaluating player development affiliation opportunities and Washington will be tasked with leading these outreaches.
“A key priority for Crew SC has been reconnecting the local soccer community and Dante is expertly positioned to do just that,” Bezbatchenko continued. “His respect for the tradition of this Club and ability to connect with alumni and potential affiliate partners to broaden our reach will allow the Club to continue grow its impact in Ohio.”
Since retiring from professional soccer, Washington received his Master of Business Administration degree from The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Most recently, Washington worked for Nationwide Insurance as a Senior Consultant in Strategic Partnerships Business Development. During his time with Nationwide, Washington worked with multiple departments to launch different initiatives and assisted with relationship building efforts for sports groups in the portfolio.