Meram: "It was right for me" to train even after trade request

Justin Meram in June 2017

LEWIS CENTER, Ohio – Justin Meram may not be certain he wants to stay in Columbus, but when Crew SC preseason training began this week, Meram was in camp doing fitness exercises with his teammates.

Over the offseason, the playmaking winger made it known to head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter that he was interested in moving away from Columbus.

Both Berhalter and Meram acknowledged the uncertainty at Crew SC’s first media availability of the year Wednesday. The pair said they had a closed-door meeting in the days before camp began, and Meram said the player and coach have a fine relationship.

“We have respect for one another as we have for the past five years,” he said.

While some players choose to deal with a trade-request scenario by holding out of camp, Meram decided to practice. And while he said he didn’t want to speak for others in his position, Meram felt his place was with his teammates.

“I know who I am as a person and as a teammate,” he said. “I think I handle myself differently. But I can’t speak for other players and their situations. I’m sure it’s completely different, and I know my scenario is very different because of how much respect I have for this club and this coaching staff. So for me, it was right for me to be here and train and take it one day at a time.”

Berhalter hasn’t ruled out a deal to send Meram away, but has maintained that the club’s asking price will be very high.

He said he reiterated that to Meram, who Berhalter said was “very understanding” of Columbus’ high valuation of him.

“We were very clear about the expectations we’re looking for in a deal,” Berhalter said. “We’ll consider something if those expectations are met, and if they’re not met, we won’t consider them. He’s too important to this group to give him away for something that’s not going to significantly benefit the club.”

Meram was tight-lipped about why he may want to leave Columbus. He said “the media portrays it one way,” but added “I don’t think you guys know much.”

“Everyone, in your life, you have moments [thinking] of what you want,” he said. “For me, there are many things. I’m very passionate for this club. It’s the team that drafted me. There’s not much else to really say about it.”