In such unpredictable and trying times, it’s hard to imagine life being the least bit normal. For people and athletes alike, attempting to give back and be a part of their community is something they can do to help spread some type of normalcy. For a few Columbus Crew SC players, giving back has only been part of the story of life without sports.
Homegrown players Sebastian Berhalter and Aidan Morris, both part of the more youthful core of the Black & Gold’s roster, stepped up their efforts in a mission to give back to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the Crew Kids Corner and MLS Unites to Inspire Kids campaign, both Berhalter and Morris participated in children read-alongs, highlighted by Berhalter reading the famed “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss.
“This is a tough time for everyone but it’s such a great way to reach out to kids,” Morris said. “It’s like getting everyone involved in a sort of way.”
For players like Berhalter and Morris, 2020 was supposed to be their first full season as professional soccer players in Columbus after coming through the Crew’s Academy. Being cut short, these players needed to find ways to fill the void and keep a positive attitude despite the absence of soccer.
“Reading has been helping a lot (during this time),” Berhalter said. “More family time too since going right from college for four months and then college to Columbus, I didn’t have a lot of time with my family so this has been good for that.”
In addition to their reading to children, both players are avid gamers. The two Black & Gold rookies recently competed in the semifinals of the “Twitch Rivals: SuperGames featuring Fortnite” tournament, to raise funds for charity. It was an event that went on to raise $1 million, as the players reached the semifinals.
“We’ve been playing for the last two years together,” Berhalter said of the tournament. “It was like we had a real game upcoming. It was a good time and an awesome experience.”
“It was like representing the club in a way and for a great cause,” Morris added.
The two players are also currently serving as team coaches for the Crew’s ongoing 30-Day Step Challenge. It’s an event that the club is hosting for its players and fans to see which team can achieve the highest amount of steps within a 30-day period. Apart from their traditional team-oriented and mandated workouts that Caleb Porter and the rest of the Black & Gold staff have for the players, the step challenge offers some friendly in-house competition within the squad.
As of Thursday, Team Aidan nears the 8-million steps mark, which is good for best on the Black & Gold, while Team Sebastian sits seventh-best with roughly 6.6 million steps.
“It’s a great way to connect to the community,” Berhalter said. “It’s a little bit different from things we’ve done before, but it’s a great way to connect.”