The Columbus Crew officially moved into their new training facility, the OhioHealth Performance Center, on Wednesday.
The state-of-the-art venue – which is located adjacent to Historic Crew Stadium – stands at 42,000 feet and houses the club’s soccer operations, ranging from the academy to the first team.
The OhioHealth Performance Center includes four fields and eight locker rooms, including two natural grass surfaces that are supported by hydronic heating and SubAir systems. There’s also a full-service kitchen and dining area, a recovery room, a hydrotherapy area, lounges and training and equipment rooms.
“I’m at a loss for words,” head coach Caleb Porter said. “I’ve been following the process of this facility for over a year now and I’ve seen the pictures and have toured it from time to time. But to actually see it right now as a finished product, it’s indescribable.
“It’s really humbling to know this is your workplace and where the players will be able to train. This is where I’m going to be able to have my office and work on a day-to-day basis. It’s just really humbling to know ownership stepped up and allowed our players and our coaching staff and our performance staff and our front office to have a facility like this. I’ve been around the world and I’ve seen some of the best facilities in the world. This is as good of a facility as I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be a game-changer.”
Before OhioHealth Performance Center opened, the club trained at Obetz. It was among the first MLS training facilities, and now Crew players believe their new digs will only boost their ability to defend last year's MLS Cup victory.
“We’ve got everything we need to perform on the field,” center back and captain Jonathan Mensah said. “I’m thankful for ownership and the sacrifices they’ve put in for us to have this. We’ll come in here and enjoy and make the best out of it.”
Josh Williams, an Ohio native who's played in nearly 170 games across all competitions for the Crew, struggled to contain his excitement.
"Obetz was nice and it was one of the first facilities in MLS, but to have something like this, I just have immense pride," Williams said. "It’s just beaming off me. I feel like a kid."
Columbus are set to debut New Crew Stadium later this summer, starting with a July 3 game against the New England Revolution that serves as a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. It’s all part of increased investment from ownership as this MLS original looks to contend annually for domestic and continental trophies.
With all soccer operations housed at the OhioHealth Performance Center, the pathway is highly visible and within grasp. This new training facility will also boost the Crew’s ability to sign players. As they shape the roster, there’s now another area they can pitch.
“This will be a really easy sell,” Porter said. “It’s a world-class facility, it’s state-of-the-art and there’s all the bells and whistles. The players want resources. They want a gym, a great training room, a theater. They want all the things we have now.”
For additional behind-the-scenes snapshots, check out the visuals below.