Why one of the founding clubs of MLS may soon cease to exist

Why one of the founding clubs of MLS may soon cease to exist

Barring a change of heart by their owner the Columbus Crew will soon be no more
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MLS has had a slow rise in terms of popularity. For much of it’s history it languished miles behind all of the other American sports in terms of attendance and viewership. Recently things have been looking up for MLS, with attendance records being smashed by newcomers Atlanta United and an all time high viewership. While this newfound success should be celebrated, the clubs that toiled through years in an unpopular league shouldn’t be forgotten. These clubs provided the base that allowed the league to grow into what it is today.

One of these clubs is the Columbus Crew. The Columbus Crew were one of 10 founding teams in the MLS in 1996. For the first five years of its existence MLS bled money, resulting with a few teams folding due to financial difficulties. Despite this the league continued to persevere and expand. The Crew played a vital role in this by building the first ever soccer-specific stadium in the MLS. The clubs commitment to expanding the presence of the sport in Ohio has also lead to development of a professional soccer team in Cincinnati.

The Columbus Crew has had mixed success, with their only MLS Cup success coming in 2008. Despite this they have had a consistently dedicated group of supporters. While the core supporter group remains active and loyal overall attendance has not been stellar compared to other MLS teams, partly due to the relatively small capacity of the stadium (approximately 20,000). Because of this the owner of the club, Anthony Precourt, has decided to uproot the club and move it to a more profitable market: Austin, Texas. The deal has not been finalized as of yet, but all indicators point to it being finalized after the conclusion of the city.

An additional part of Precourts motivation to move the crew is that he wants a new stadium built, preferably with the money of the city of Columbus. The Mapfre stadium that hosts the club is less than 20 years old, making a significant investment into a new stadium an unjustifiable expense for the city of Columbus. This trend of sports team’s owners demanding new stadiums funded by public money is not a new trend, and has been seen for decades in the NFL and NBA.

If this were allowed to happen in the MLS it would potentially undermine much of the progress that the league has made over the last two decades. It takes time to develop and maintain new fanbases as they come into the league and the knowledge that any of these teams could be taken away at the whim of an owner could make potential supporters wary. If MLS wants to approach the levels of fandom enjoyed by the best clubs in Europe it needs to adopt a model that puts the supporter first instead of the owner. Many clubs have developed their fanbase over the course of the last century, MLS supporters should be given this chance too.

While their future lies in the balance, the Crew are making the most of their season despite the turmoil surrounding the club. They’re currently in the midst of a deep playoff run, hoping to at least bring one last trophy to Columbus.

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Move Over, LeBron, Baker Mayfield Is The New Cleveland Goat

The Browns were known for always losing, then Baker Mayfield came onto the scene.

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On September 20th, 2018, the Cleveland Brown's received their first win since December of 2016. Finally, after 635 days of losing.

The Browns fans rallied behind our very own quarterback, Baker Mayfield, to end the game against the New York Jets to 21-17. Many believe the game was carried on the shoulders of Mayfield as he propelled for 201 passing yards during this game. As the Browns won their first game of the season at home, the city of Cleveland practically exploded from excitement and of course, the chained up Bud Light refrigerators, were finally opened.

The Browns made the fans excited and proud as they improved their season to 1-1-1.

The Cleveland Browns won their second game of the season to the Baltimore Ravens by the skin of their teeth. As the Brown's went into over time, the win of the game was just shy of one field goal to beat their division rivals. Mayfield during this game threw for 342 yards, a touchdown and one interception, leading his team to a victory.

After Greg Joseph, kicker, missed a 50-yard kick, the game was forced into overtime. Mayfield drove his team down the field and as time expired, Joseph was up to line to redeem himself, making a 37-yard field goal, giving the Brown's another victory.

As the Browns started to encounter a four-game losing streak, they were in need of some positive energy as they were heading into bye week. The Browns showed their momentum as they received a 28-16 win against the Atlantic Falcons. Mayfield accounted for completing 17 out of the 20 throws for 216 yards.

The Browns were able to end on a high note as they went into their bye week.

Then, the Browns had an exciting win against the Cincinnati Bengals, as they snatched a 35-20 victory and killed their road losing streak. The Browns had not won on the road since October 11, 2015 — with 25 straight loses away from home, the second-longest in NFL history.

Mayfield was able to account for 19 of 26 throws for 258 yards and also a single-game rookie-record four touchdowns. Mayfield averaged about 9.9 yards per attempt and connected with eight different receivers during this invigorating win.

The Browns were able to improve their season to 4-6-1, which for the Browns, is pretty good.

Mayfield, a rookie and 2018 first round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns, has been called "the Goat" by many young Brown's fans. I even have a friend that jokingly said he's going to name one of his kids after Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield may be a rookie but it's clear that his talents and leadership has given a spotlight to the Browns. Although the offense and defense for the Browns show willpower and determination to make their fans proud and happy, Mayfield shows that his rookie experience will come along way with this team.

Baker Mayfield thus far in the 2018 season has accounted for 17 touchdowns and has thrown for 2,242 yards. After LeBron James left the Cavs to join the Lakers, it seemed as though there was no hope for Cleveland sports anymore.

The Browns improving their season and having Baker Mayfield, Cleveland’s new goat. is exactly what the city of Cleveland needs.

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