The Columbus Crew has hired former U.S. international defender Gregg Berhalter as its new manager, the club said Wednesday.
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Berhalter replaces Robert Warzycha, who was fired by the Crew on Sept. 2 after five years at the helm. Brian Bliss, who was a finalist for the full-time job, had been managing Columbus on an interim basis since Warzycha's departure. The club announced that Berhalter would also take on the role of sporting director.
This is the second managerial post Berhalter has held. Previously he managed Swedish second division side Hammarby. After leading Hammarby to fourth place in 2012, Berhalter was fired midway through the 2013 season with the club in eighth place, amid criticism about the teams lack of offense. His overall record in league play while with Hammarby was 18-11-16.
Berhalter spent most of his playing career in Europe. After completing three collegiate seasons at the University of North Carolina, he spent six years in the Netherlands, playing for Zwolle, Sparta Rotterdam and Cambuur Leeuwarden.
He spent a solitary season with Crystal Palace, then operating in the second tier of English soccer before heading to Germany to play for Energie Cottbus and 1860 Munich. While with Cottbus, Berhalter helped the club win promotion to the Bundesliga.
Berhalter returned to the U.S. in 2009 and spent parts of three seasons with the LA Galaxy, helping the club to an MLS Cup and Supporters Shield double in 2011.
Berhalter made 44 appearances for the U.S. team and was on the roster for the Americans at both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.