I remember my first Columbus Crew game. I played for a small recreational team in Parkersburg, WV, and our coach arranged for us to travel to Ohio Stadium to watch the Columbus Crew play the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars.
Best of all, we got to play on the field at halftime. It was a big deal to us, and I remember meeting Brian McBride and the rest of the team after the game and getting their autographs. I would have been 11 or 12 years old at the time. Years later, I would always make it to Columbus for a couple games.
After college I met my wife while we both lived in Parkersburg. She was not a soccer fan, but we bought a 3 or 4 game package and traveled to Columbus to watch the Crew play. One of my favorite memories was watching the United States National team beat Jamaica in a friendly. We would get to the stadium sometimes 4 hours early and mingle with the local crowd.
Fast forward several years, and now I have my own kids. A 3 year old little girl that loves to watch football and soccer with her Daddy, and an 8 month old son. Work has now moved us to St Augustine, FL, where we still keep an eye on the Crew.
Sadly we don’t get to catch them on TV much, but that doesn’t stop us from reading the news. I remember the feeling I got when I was 11 or 12 years old and when I was in my 20’s and 30’s watching the Crew play. The thought that I may never get to take my daughter or my son to Columbus for a Crew game, and tell them of stories of the times their Mom and Dad shared at that stadium, cheering on the Crew, the US National Team, or watching amazing rock bands, takes this father’s breath away.
It brings me to tears to think that is part of my family’s story that I’ll never get to share with my kids. It’s devastating to think of what that would do to the local fan base and those that are fortunate enough to live in Columbus and attend all the games in person. Even more upsetting, is reading in the news and seeing just how orchestrated of an effort this has been by Major League Soccer and the Crew Ownership.
This attempted coup, and planned bastardizing of the fan base and all the memories that will be washed away is disgusting. I thought Major League Soccer was supposed to be different. I thought MLS stood for a different model on how professional sports organizations conducted business.
The silence from MLS during all this, has made it obvious exactly what they want, and that is a move to Austin. I wish the team all the best, and I wish MLS well…but this is one fan, along with a 3 year old daughter and 8 month old son, that won’t be cheering for you..any longer.