Windy City native Eric Gehrig is currently an assistant coach for his hometown Chicago Fire. While it may seem weird that a member of the Fire’s coaching staff would have so many good things to say about Columbus, it makes total sense in Gehrig’s case since he spent five years wearing the black and gold of the Columbus Crew. Gehrig had been a supporter of #SaveTheCrew on twitter and he’s definitely happy with the final outcome.
To alleviate the grossness for any Fire fans that may stumble across this post, I asked Gehrig about the 2019 Fire season at the end just to balance out some of the lovely Columbus talk. You’re welcome.
On his feelings now that the Crew have been officially saved:
I am really happy for you guys in Columbus, man. So cool. I really had solemn and deep sadness not only for the club, but obviously for the fans. It hurt. I couldn’t really imagine not going to Columbus and playing the Crew and going back to a place I spent a lot of time in and was so special to me. Obviously, when I first heard the news back when all this started, I was really sad it and it looked pretty bleak. I think the special group of you all in Columbus believed, and it was so hard for the rest of us disconnected and not in Columbus to know what to think.
It just shows the strength of when people come together and work hard and show their passion and love for something so special to them that they can get through it. I think it’s just a remarkable display of loyalty and shows how much something can mean to people. That’s why I love sports. It brings people together and gives people good memories and gives people purpose, among other things.
I couldn’t be happier, Sirk. I couldn’t be happier. It’s going to go down as one of the coolest things that has ever happened in professional sports.
Like you said, I’m from a rival and a team that’s not supposed to like Columbus, but I know it’s different because Columbus was my home away from home, but with that said, I’m ecstatic for the club, I’m excited for the players, and I’m excited for the people of Columbus, who deserve the Columbus Crew. They do. It’s a different team. It’s a different feel than the rest of the league. It’s not about the bright lights. It’s not about the most expensive players and all the money, yada yada yada. It’s about family, tradition, and culture. I’m excited to see where the club goes under the new ownership, with people who want to give in to the club and make it something it’s never felt before. It’s great to see that commitment in Columbus.
On Dr. Edwards making the jump from team doctor to team owner, along with the Haslam family:
My experience with Dr. Edwards was always very positive. He’s a guy who does his doctor thing, but you would never know that he’s a doctor way up there. He always was very humble, very personable, and always had a great sense of humor. I always knew he was a special guy, but I didn’t know he was THAT special. I’m not saying that because he bought part of the Crew that it makes him special, but for someone to stand up for such a great cause and to give so much of their time and effort and passion to really rally this group and take the initiative to lead…I always knew he was a special guy from being on the team and interacting with him, but this really shows how special Dr. Edwards is. Like I said, I am really excited to see what he and the Haslams do together to bring this team to life and give it the love it deserves, which had been lacking the last few years.
On getting to come “home away from home” to Columbus in 2019 and beyond:
I’m looking forward to good games. It’s never easy to play in Columbus. The players and the past coaching staff did a great job, and now you’re bringing in a champion in Caleb whose results speak for themselves. You lose Gregg, who for me is one of the pioneers of American soccer of late, but then you bring in Caleb Porter, who is another heavy hitter, so there’s a lot to be excited about in Columbus. Not only did you save the Crew, but you brought in a first-class coaching staff and then added Tim Bezbatchenko after what he did in Toronto, which was build one of the best teams in MLS history. I imagine it’s like Christmas in Columbus. It’s pretty cool and I’m pretty excited for you guys.
On the 2019 Chicago Fire:
We’re coming off of a down year. A lot of things went into it and I think a lot of guys are doing self-reflection. You can say we had some bad luck, but at the end of the year, everyone has had some highs and lows and ups and downs. We’re looking to rebound and there’s more urgency. I don’t think anything that happened last year was due to lack of effort or anything like that, but it’s just the way it goes in professional sports. We hit the ground running as soon as the season concluded, and with the right combination of hard work and a little bit of luck, hopefully some things will come together and we can turn the tide and get back to where we were the year before last year. Obviously, we were pretty good that year and made the playoffs, but this past year, I don’t think anyone is going to forget how 2018 felt and it left a little scar that we are going to work very hard to mend. As much as I’ve talked about Columbus with you tonight, Chicago is home and it’s a great city and a city of winners. We don’t take for granted who we represent and the city we represent. So let’s see what happens.
A MASSIVE SEASON is now available as an ebook.