And the new Crew are aiming high.
“Columbus Crew is important for this community and I think everybody realized how important it was” co-owner Dee Haslam said in a keynote speech at the Women in Sports Report, an event hosted by the Greater Columbus Sports Commission on Tuesday and reported on by the Columbus Business Journal.
“We feel like we're in really good hands. We know that we have the best people in place to lead the soccer part of the organization, so we couldn't be more pleased,” added Haslam, whose group hired former Toronto FC GM Tim Bezbatchenko and coach Caleb Porter earlier this offseason. “We are very confident that we will have the most successful organization in MLS.”
Dee and her husband Jimmy Haslam, who also own the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, have partnered with longtime Crew SC team doctor Dr. Pete Edwards on their new project. With plenty of work to do, they’re keen to make a strong start both on the field and off it, and in the short as well as long term.
“We obviously have to rebuild our staff, which we are working on, we have to sell tickets … and suites and support for the team, so that's a lot of work,” Haslam said. “Where we are as a soccer team and our roster, we feel really good about. We just need for our fans to come out and support us.”
Haslam revealed that Columbus are hustling to finalize the logistics of their proposed new Confluence Village stadium development west of downtown, with an eye towards a grand opening just over two years from now.
“We want to make a deadline to have our first game [there] in the summer of '21, so we really do need to get to work and get going,” she noted. “With that said, we want to make sure we build the best stadium for Columbus, so if it is a few months later than that, we’ll certainly be open to that.”