COLUMBUS, Ohio – Josh Wolff was in Honduras on a scouting trip just more than a week ago.
When he returned, he had an e-mail from newly appointed Columbus Crew boss Gregg Berhalter waiting for him. On Wednesday, Wolff was officially announced as Berhalter's first assistant coach with the Crew. It took him just a week of thought and conversation with Berhalter to make the decision.
“It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up,” Wolff told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Once he's announced as the head coach, the dynamic kind of changes. You kind of assess what it is you are and what it is you want to be, and it was an opportunity that I felt was very good for me and could be very impactful.”
Wolff, who was an assistant coach with D.C. United last season after retiring from playing in November 2012, and Berhalter were teammates on the US national team and with 1860 Munich in Germany, and Wolff said the two have stayed in touch.
“I had talked to him when he was in Hammarby and saw what had happened there and talked to him a number of times about various things,” he said. “We're good friends. We played together in Munich for a couple of years, had a pretty good relationship with the national team. We're pretty familiar with each other, and we stayed in contact quite a bit.”
Berhalter, a defender in his playing days, admitted that adding Wolff, a former forward in his playing days, was a move to strengthen his team's offense.
“[Wolff] has a great offensive mind,” Berhalter told MLSsoccer.com. “We have a good young group of players that he can work closely with. I think it's a good complement to my skill set. ... We have game analysis, individual video edits, individual training and group offensive training. And I see [him] overseeing that entire area.”
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The new assistant said he's had some time to watch film in the last few days and has studied about 10 games from the Crew's 2013 season, identifying the team's offensive weapons.
“You have some pieces that are there. You've got to find some common ground as far as what you want to play and how you anticipate things to look for in your front four or five guys. But it's a challenge no matter what.”
The hiring of the 36-year-old Wolff alongside Berhalter, 40, makes for a young coaching staff and one they hope the players respond to.
“You hope the players understand who we are and what it is that we want,” Wolff said. “There's going to be mutual respect there. I think the players will enjoy the way that Gregg delivers his messages and his game and his ideas.
“For me, being recently removed from being a player, I have a pretty good understanding of where players are and what the mentality is, as does Gregg.”
Andrew King covers the Columbus Crew for MLSsoccer.com.