Ending weeks of speculation, Columbus Crew SC hired Tim Bezbatchenko as club president and Caleb Porter as head coach Friday.
Bezbatchenko will be in charge of both business and soccer operations for the team. Both men have MLS Cup victories on their resumes, with Bezbatchenko serving as GM of Toronto FC during their 2017 victory and Porter coaching the Portland Timbers to an MLS Cup win over Crew SC in 2015.
The news comes quickly on the heels of the transition in ownership from Anthony Precourt and his company, Precourt Sports Ventures, to an ownership group helmed by team doctor Pete Edwards and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
Crew SC also announced that season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale. The selling of tickets was delayed due to the ownership transition.
“We are thrilled to have secured Tim Bezbatchenko and Caleb Porter to lead Columbus Crew SC,” the Crew SC investor-operator group said. “Tim’s track record in building a successful team, including an MLS Cup in 2017, along with his experience on both the league-side and club-side of Major League Soccer make him uniquely qualified to serve as President and provides strong leadership. Caleb has been a proven winner every place he has coached and like Tim won an MLS Cup in 2015. He has a deep understanding of how to build formidable and successful programs and is well respected for his soccer acumen and development of players. With Tim and Caleb sharing some Ohio roots, we feel they are the perfect fit as we move into a new era of Crew soccer.”
Said Porter: “It is exciting to be part of the vision that The Edwards Family and The Haslam Family have in mind for Crew SC and I look forward to working closely with Tim to build on the success the team has had in recent years. In the days and weeks ahead, I am eager to return to Ohio and begin working with our players and staff to prepare for the upcoming season. I look forward to meeting the dedicated supporters of the club and the chance for my family to be a part of this wonderful community is something that inspires me, as is the opportunity to work each day towards bringing a trophy to the City of Columbus.”
The Crew open up their season March 2 with a home game against the New York Red Bulls.
“It is a new era in Columbus and with the stewardship of The Edwards Family and The Haslam Family, I am excited to get started as we make our quest for championship titles, deep engagement with the supporters and the community and a commitment to continually give back to the City, Bezbatchenko said. My family and I are thrilled for the opportunity to return to Central Ohio and to be a part of this organization and its bright future on the business and soccer side alike.”