The ever-growing #Save the Crew movement has a new supporter in its corner — Powell Mayor Brian Lorenz.
The grassroots effort to keep the Columbus Crew Soccer Club in Ohio began in late October after the team’s owner, Anthony Precourt, announced his plans to relocate one of Major League Soccer’s original teams from the capital city to Austin, Texas, in time for the start of the 2019 season if a new downtown soccer stadium isn’t finalized by then for his Crew.
As a “casual fan” who supports his hometown teams, Lorenz said while he’s not be a diehard Crew fan, the same can’t be said about some of his constituents in Powell.
“Many residents have expressed a concern over the possible move,” Lorenz said. “The Crew represent a big segment of fans in Powell. Their games serve as an opportunity for our families to gather together in a family friendly, positive environment.”
Having lived through a similar situation involving his beloved Cleveland Browns, which were relocated to Baltimore following the 1995 season (Cleveland was granted a new team by the National Football League in time for the 1999 season), Lorenz felt compelled to do something about the pending relocation of the Crew.
On Nov. 17, Lorenz sent a letter to MLS Commissioner Don Garber encouraging league officials to continue dialogue with City of Columbus leaders in hopes of working out a way to keep the Crew within the greater Columbus area.
“Powell represents a small population, but many of our residents, young and old, are disappointed, frustrated, and upset that one of your league’s cornerstone franchises would consider a move, especially in a time of great excitement with the current playoff run (second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals set for Wednesday, Nov. 29 in Toronto),” Lorenz wrote.
He added Crew fans wouldn’t be the only segment of the population affected by the soccer club being uprooted from Columbus in favor of Austin, Texas.
“The owner needs to consider the livelihood of those employed by the team, as well as the negative economic impact a move would create,” Lorenz said. “It would be extremely disappointing for the Crew to leave as they serve as such an important aspect in our lives.”
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.