Editor’s note: As Massive Report expands its staff in the coming week, we will introduce each new member by having them write a little something about themselves to help the MR community get to know them. Who are they? What’s their soccer background? How long have they been a fan of the Crew? Whatever they want to share to introduce themselves to our great and loyal readers. Today we introduce Orri Benatar.
Hello Massive Report! My name is Orri Benatar and I am very excited to join the site and help to create and add to the best Crew content around. This sport, this team and this city mean everything to me and its safe to say soccer, the Crew and Columbus ARE my background.
The Crew’s first ever game was April 13, 1996 in the “empty-looking” Ohio Stadium and the story began for Major League Soccer. On May 12, 1996 at Ohio State Hospital, I became a person and my story began with being indoctrinated with soccer, the greatest game on the planet. From an early age, I played in my slanted backyard kicking a 3-sized ball into my neighbor’s fence and that continued for about the first 15 years of my life, including the best 3-person Backyard World Cup simulation with my dad and brother that included spreadsheets, a trophy and LOTS of flags!
Organized soccer was always a part of my day-to-day life growing up in Columbus going from select leagues at Easton, to playing Junior High and Varsity at Columbus Torah Academy (Go Lions!) and occasionally suiting up for my dad’s select team in Upper Arlington. Btw, suiting up for those games literally was just putting on an orange shirt. I still play as often as I can after dabbling in intramural games at the University of Illinois. I am a central striker that can play on the wing and take set-pieces. Playing goalie or centerback at 5’4” isn’t really ideal.
Whenever I wasn’t playing, I was watching or finding some way to follow the sport. When I was younger, access to watch soccer was limited so my first memories would be going to the Columbus Public Library to watch Champions League game casts that would update every 13 minutes. We also had VCR tapes of World Cup highlights and the 2000 MLS All-Star Game in Columbus that was an absolute thriller at 9-4 to the East.
Luckily, media and soccer coverage in the United States has evolved to a level I couldn’t have imagined as a kid. No more paying 50 dollars to watch one Euro match or struggling to find regularly televised Crew games. Now every game I would want to watch I can and I can follow any match from every corner of the globe.
European soccer is on constantly in my house but we can’t just drive 30 minutes to watch one of those games. Thank god for the Columbus Crew because they were my first memories of watching live sports and have continued to be the team I am most proud to support. We did whatever we could to get involved with the Crew from going to games, watching, getting Edson Buddle to sign a very-old white Crew T-shirt and so much more. Favorite game attended has to be the 2015 East Final First Leg, the only professional playoff game I’ve attended.
The 2008 MLS Cup win is still among my favorite sport moments of my entire life and when I was at college, people knew my affinity to the team. I paced like a lunatic at the Illini Hillel watching the 2015 Final which was a disaster and tears of joy came sprinkling in front of my roommates when I heard the Crew was saved.
Outside of soccer, I am a graduate in Broadcast Journalism and talking and reporting about sports is my ultimate passion. Every sport is my second-favorite sport behind soccer and my fandoms stretch from the Crew to Liverpool, USA anything, the Blue Jackets, OSU and Illini anything, the Cavaliers, the Browns and yes the New York Yankees (please don’t hate me). I’m a video-game aficionado specializing in any sports game ever made with a little Batman Arkham mixed in. If anyone wants to play some FIFA, I’m always down!
I am incredibly excited to bring my passion and love for this team, this sport and this city to the best group of supporters in Major League Soccer!
Let’s get that second cup!