Columbus Crew sign Wilfried Nancy to contract extension

Wilfried Nancy - Columbus Crew

The Columbus Crew and head coach Wilfried Nancy have reached a contract extension, the club announced Wednesday.

A Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year finalist the past two seasons, Nancy led Columbus to their third-ever MLS Cup title in 2023. Last year under the Frenchman, they tied a club points record (57) and scored an MLS-best 67 regular season goals.

“In addition to winning MLS Cup last year, we are excited to extend Wilfried’s contract because of the culture he has helped create within the club, including our shared commitment to developing individuals both as players and as people, within the overall Crew ‘One Club’ philosophy,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement.

“When we hired Wilfried, our top priority was ensuring alignment from the first team through Crew 2 and the academy with coaches, players and staff, including in our desired style of play, player profiles and most importantly, our club values. Wilfried has delivered in every way, and then some, with his leadership and devotion to entertaining soccer.

“We are confident with his and our team’s collective leadership and collaboration that we can continue to build upon the foundation that has been laid and consistently compete for championships for our fans and the city of Columbus.”

Continued rise

In 2023, Nancy became the first Black head coach to win MLS Cup. This year, he's led the Crew into their first Concacaf Champions Cup semifinal berth, starting next week vs. Liga MX powerhouse CF Monterrey.

When Nancy joined Columbus, the club took the unprecedented step of compensating (undisclosed amount) CF Montréal for their manager. Nancy had spent over a decade with Montréal, progressing from their academy to a first-team assistant and then head coach – replacing Thierry Henry for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

At Columbus, Nancy succeeded now-New England Revolution manager Caleb Porter.

“The Columbus Crew is a fantastic club with the Haslam, Johnson and Edwards families, Tim Bezbatchenko, our leadership, coaches, staff and players from the first team to Crew 2 and the academy, and it is an honor to be the head coach and sign this contract extension,” said Nancy.

“We have a clear vision as a club of what we want to do and how we can achieve it, and we can continue to write our story and evoke emotions. With humility, I’m very proud of what we have accomplished together during the past year, but most importantly, I am pleased with how we are focused on growing together and working to improve as a team and individuals.”

Player development

In addition to team success in 2023, Nancy and his staff helped with player development that resulted in forward Cucho Hernández being named the MLS Cup MVP and to the 2023 MLS Best XI. Homegrown midfielder Aidan Morris was recognized as a 2023 MLS All-Star and named to the 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list.

Cucho (Colombia), Morris (USA), goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen (Guatemala), defender Steven Moreira (Cape Verde), forward Jacen Russell-Rowe (Canada), goalkeeper Patrick Schulte (USA) and midfielder/defender Sean Zawadzki (USA) also received international call-ups to their respective senior national teams in the past year.

Additionally, the Crew continually integrate homegrown players and talents from their MLS NEXT Pro side.