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The Crew’s Ezra Hendrickson takes medical leave of absence

The Black & Gold will be down one assistant coach in preseason.

SOCCER: DEC 11 MLS Cup - Columbus Crew SC Training Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Columbus Crew assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson is taking a medical leave of absence. The team announced the news on Monday morning on its official Twitter account.

“Columbus Crew SC Assistant Coach Ezra Hendrickson will be on a medical leave of absence back in Columbus as he rests and recovers from a recent and significant health situation, details of which will remain private this time. We appreciate the support and well-wishes and look forward to Ezra’s return to his duties when appropriate,” the message read. No further details were provided and the tweet was captioned with “Get well soon, Ezra,” with black and gold heart emojis.

Hendrickson joined head coach Caleb Porter’s staff in July of 2019. He replaced Mike Matkovich, who was an initial member of Porter’s first staff in Columbus but was forced to leave the club due to health reasons earlier that season.

The assistant coach has experience both coaching and playing in Major League Soccer, including suiting up for the Crew from 2006-2008 when he helped the Black & Gold win the club’s first MLS Cup trophy. He began his coaching career with the Seattle Sounders in 2009, serving under head coach Sigi Schmid — a member of the Crew’s Circle of Honor.

During his time in Seattle, Hendrickson and the Sounders were rather successful, winning 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 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.

Hendrickson played defender 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.

In 1997, 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, then a part of 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.

Last season, Hendrickson was a member of the staff that won the Crew’s second-ever MLS Cup championship, making him one of the few people who were involved in the organization for both of the team’s MLS titles.

The Black & Gold are currently in the final stage of preseason in Orlando Florida before beginning competitive play against Real Esteli in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday, April 8.