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A 25-year veteran of The Columbus Dispatch, Craig Merz covered the Crew from their inaugural season in 1996 through 2005 but as a lifelong resident of the city, his soccer watching began years before with the Columbus Magic of the American Soccer League. Now a freelance reporter, he's been back on the Crew beat for MLSsoccer.com since 2008. He also works for the Associated Press covering Ohio State¹s football and basketball teams; Columbus Monthly magazine; Buckeyes Sports Bulletin and Columbus Examiner as well as co-authoring a book on the Columbus Chill minor league hockey team.