Just under two months after announcing the creation of Crew 2 as part of the new MLS Next Pro league, the Columbus Crew is set to appoint the reserve team’s first-ever head coach. Massive Report confirmed with club sources that the Black & Gold have hired Laurent Courtois to lead Crew 2 for the team’s initial season. This hiring has now been confirmed by the club.
Courtois, 43, has a long background as a professional player and has served in various coaching roles since retiring from playing in the summer of 2014. Most recently, Courtois held the role of the Under-19 head coach in the Crew Academy, making this a promotion of sorts within the club.
“We are excited to announce Laurent’s promotion to Crew 2 Head Coach,” said Crew 2 general manager Corey Wray in the official statement. “When looking for a coach for Crew 2, we wanted to find someone who was not only familiar with how we want to develop our youth players, but who also embodied the values of our Club. We believe in Laurent’s ability to lead and shape the squad and look forward to seeing him take on this role. We are proud to promote Laurent and continue to provide growth opportunities for him and the coaching staff.”
Born in Lyon, France, Courtois, a midfielder, began his playing career in the youth ranks at the Olympique Lyon Academy before moving to Ligue 2 side AC Ajaccio in 1998. He spent one season in Ajaccio, making 30 appearances and scoring five goals, before Courtois made a move to fellow French side Toulouse, where he played 53 times over two seasons and helped the club get promoted to the first division.
Courtois had a brief stint with West Ham of the English Premier League, playing seven times for the club from 2001-02, before signing with FC Istres back in France. He spent two seasons there before moving to Spain to join Levante of La Liga. Following three years in Valencia, Courtois again returned to France, joining Grenoble where he played from 2008-11, helping the team gain promotion to Ligue 1 in his first season.
In the summer of 2011, Courtois made the move to the United States, signing with Chivas USA. He played 33 times for the now-defunct MLS side, scoring three goals, before he was released in June of 2013. Courtois then signed for Chivas’ cross-town neighbors, the LA Galaxy, but only made six appearances for the club.
Courtois served as a player/coach for LA Galaxy II, the club’s reserve team, in its first season in 2014. He also has experience working as the head coach in the Olympique Lyon Academy as the Under-16 head coach and was an assistant coach for the club’s U-16 and U-17 teams. Courtois returned to the U.S. and MLS as an assistant coach for the Galaxy II in 2017.
In 2019, Courtois was hired by the Crew to serve as the head coach for the Academy's U-17 team. He then took over the U-19 team in 2021.
This is just the first of a number of Crew 2 announcements expected soon. The club is finalizing the rest of its staff and roster and those announcements could come as soon as next week, sources tell Massive Report. Additionally, an MLS Next Pro schedule is on the horizon as Crew 2 is set to begin its preseason training camp early next week.