The Columbus Crew lost a key member of the front office on Monday. It was officially announced that technical director and vice president of soccer operations Pat Onstad has left the club to be named the general manager for fellow Major League Soccer side, the Houston Dynamo.
This Onstad news was originally reported by former Dynamo player and current FOX broadcaster Stu Holden. Onstad’s departure has now been confirmed by the Crew.
Onstad spent eight seasons in Columbus working for the Black & Gold. He initially joined as a member of former head coach Gregg Berhalter’s staff in 2014. As an assistant coach, Onstad helped the Crew win the 2015 Eastern Conference championship and host the 2015 MLS Cup Final, falling 2-1 to the Portland Timbers.
Late in the 2018 season, Onstad moved to the front office as interim general manager. Following a change in ownership to the Haslam and Edwards families and the hiring of president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko prior to the 2019 season, Onstad stayed with the club, accepting the role of technical director.
In his time in this role, Onstad oversaw moves that helped Columbus return to the MLS Cup playoffs in 2020. The Black & Gold captured the team’s second-ever MLS Cup title that year, again hosting the championship game and defeating the Seattle Sounders 3-0.
“I am immensely proud of Pat as he has earned this opportunity and elevated role within MLS,” Bezbatchenko said in the release announcing Onstad’s departure from the Crew. “Having had the pleasure of working with Pat over the past three seasons, I know that his knowledge of the league and dedication to the role will help him to excel as a General Manager. Pat’s experience both in coaching and in scouting provide him the tools to evaluate talent. He has also learned the complex league roster rules and salary cap, which is another integral part of the role especially in this league as things are constantly changing and evolving. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to someone who has been a member of our Black & Gold family for the last eight years and we wish him nothing but the best in Houston as he begins this next stage of his career.”
Prior to his time on the sideline and in the front office, Onstad was a top goalkeeper in MLS. He joined the league with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003 after playing in Canada and in the lower levels of the United States. He made the move with the club when they relocated to Houston and became the Dynamo. Onstad’s playing career finished in 2011 with D.C. United.
As a player, Onstad won three MLS Cup titles, one with the Earthquakes in 2003 and two with the Dynamo in 2006, 2007. Onstad was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year twice and (2003, 2005), was twice named to the MLS Best XI (2003, 2005) and won one Canadian Player of the Year award (2003). He also appeared 60 times for the Canadian National Team.