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The Crew hires six to fill Crew 2 coaching and support roles

The Black & Gold’s MLS Next Pro team added experience throughout MLS, USL and the college level to its staff.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Crew

The Columbus Crew continues to fill out its staff for its new reserve team. After announcing that Laurent Courtois would lead Crew 2 as the team’s first ever head coach late last month the Crew added key assistant coach and support staff on Monday. Joining Courtois on the bench will be Phil Boerger and Kobie Johnson and in support staff roles will be Ahmad Salamah, Sara Kusner, Nathaniel Horton and Mike Peters.

The constant between the two new assistant coaches is their focus on youth development. Johnson already has exposure to the Crew, having been hired by the club in 2021. Prior to joining the Black & Gold, Johnson was a head coach in the New York Red Bulls Academy throughout levels stretching from Under-12 to Under-23. He also brings experience in college, having been an assistant coach with Seton Hall University and running the New Jersey Stallions Academy program.

Boerger joins the Black & Gold after coaching goalkeepers for Toronto FC II of the USL Championship from 2016-21. His stint in Canada overlapped with both current Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko and Crew 2 general manager Corey Wray. Prior to his jump to the professional ranks, Boerger was an assistant coach on multiple college sides, including at Syracuse University, Florida Gulf Coast University and Georgia Southern University.

“We are excited to have Kobie and Phil round out the Crew 2 coaching staff,” Wray said in the release announcing the hires. “Kobie’s previous extensive experience in player development and his understanding of our club’s philosophy make him a great fit for Crew 2. Having worked with Phil before, I know the dedication and passion he will bring to our club.”

Elsewhere on the staff, the Black & Gold welcome Salamah as the team’s new performance coach, Kusner as head athletic therapist, Horton as manager of team operations and Mike Peters as the equipment manager.

Salamah brings experience from the collegiate level in the arena of strength and conditioning. From 2017-21, Salamah assisted at Saint Joseph’s University before spending a year in a similar role at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Kusner is no stranger to Columbus. In 2019, she interned with the senior club before being hired as the head athletic trainer for the Crew Academy. Now Kusner brings that knowledge of the club to Crew 2.

Horton joins the Black & Gold after spending five seasons leading academy operations for Atlanta United. That MLS experience came after interning at the league office, in the Player Relations and Competition Department.

Peters rounds out the new hires for Crew 2, after spending 2018 with New England Revolution in an operations role. That was followed by an equipment manager position with the Hartford Athletic of the USL Championship.

An area that supporters are still waiting on is the announcement of the inaugural Crew 2 roster. At this point, the roster is still not finalized, but an announcement is expected soon. Players began preseason came for Crew 2 on Jan. 31 at the OhioHealth Performance Center.