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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Crew hired former U.S. mens national team and Major League Soccer player Gregg Berhalter as their seventh head coach. The Englewood, N.J., native replaces interim coach Brian Bliss, who took over during the recently completed Crew season for the fired Robert Warzycha, who had led the team the past five years. "The Crew has a strong history of winning and a dedicated fan base, and I aim to bring a style of play that resonates with our supporters and results that will make the city proud," Berhalter said in a statement Wednesday. "I am eager to get started, and my immediate priority is to reach out to the players and share our new vision for the club as we move forward." Berhalter became the first American to manage a European professional club when he was hired by Swedens Hammarby IF. His Hammarby teams went 18-11-16 in two seasons. He was fired last summer, largely because the team had difficulty mustering goals -- a problem he will also face with the defensive-oriented Crew. He had an 18-year run as a player, including stays in the Netherlands, England and Germany and MLS. Berhalter will also oversee all player personnel decisions with the team, with Crew President Mark McCullers relinquishing his duties as general manager to focus primarily on the clubs business operations. "Greggs strong vision, passion, work ethic, intelligence, data-driven decision-making, broad soccer network and playing credentials separated him throughout this search," said Anthony Precourt, the Crews chairman. "His unique skill-set gives us great confidence in boldly changing the structure of our soccer operations, with Gregg leading as our first-ever Sporting Director." In his final season with the L.A. Galaxy in 2011, Berhalter worked under coach Bruce Arena to prepare training sessions, video analysis and scouting as the club won the MLS Cup championship. He also was on the coaching side at 1860 Munich, where he helped with scouting for the German Club from 2007-09. After playing for the University of North Carolina, Berhalter spent time with Dutch Second Division team FC Zwolle and Holland First Division clubs Sparta Rotterdam and SC Cambuur before moving on to Englands Crystal Palace FC in the Football League Championship. He reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup with the United States before signing with Energie Cottbus of the German Bundesliga, where he served as captain while playing from 2002-06. He switched to 1860 Munich from 2006-09 before joining the Galaxy in 2009-11, serving as vice-captain. He earned 44 caps with the U.S. mens national team. Bliss leaves the Crew after six seasons as technical director. The club went 4-4-0 with him as interim coach. 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Power had a two-lap average of 218.896 mph in qualifying Friday at the high-banked, high-speed 1 1/2-mile track for his 34th career pole.Fargo, ND (SportsNetwork.com) - Sam Houston State might have won a national title or two and be headed back to the FCS championship game for more. If, that is, the Bearkats success in the postseason hadnt been occurring during North Dakota States four-year dynasty. The Bison did it again to Sam Houston Friday night as senior running back John Crockett totaled 232 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns in eliminating the Bearkats, 35-3, in the FCS semifinals at the Fargodome. Next up for the second-seeded Bison (14-1) is a return to the national championship game in Frisco, Texas, where on Jan. 10 they will try to win an unprecedented fourth straight FCS title against either fellow Missouri Valley Conference member Illinois State or top-seeded New Hampshire, who play in the other semifinal on Saturday. The first two of North Dakota States three straight wins in the national final came against Sam Houston. The Bison are a combined 57-3 over the last four seasons, and their senior class has the chance to finish with more national championships than losses in their career. The visiting Bearkats (11-5) from the Southland Conference had hoped for a different result under their first-year coach K.C. Keeler, who had led Delaware to the FCS title in 2003 as well as two other championship appearances. But the Bison, after playing poorly on offense in first half, ran away from the Bearkats behind Crockett (166 rushing yards, 66 receiving) and their powerful offensive line as well as a defense that slowed down Sam Houstons speed in the skills positions. The Bison extended their playoff winning streak to 15 games and their home winning streak to 23. North Dakota State managed only 99 yards in the first half while taking a 7-3 halftime lead, but the Bison nearly matched that total on their second drive of the third quarter when they began to take control of the game. On the third play, Crockett went undefended coming out of the backfield for a 35-yard reception from quarterback Carson Wentz. On the next play, Crocketts backup, King Fraazier, sliced through the Sam Houston defensive line for a 33- yard touchdown run which put the Bison ahead 14-3 midway the quarter.dddddddddddd On the first play of North Dakota States next drive, Crockett went around left end to explode for a 55-yard touchdown run which extended the lead to 21-3 with 6:52 remaining in the quarter. That margin is usually insurmountable for North Dakota State, but for good measure, Crockett scored on a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter before Wentz connected with R.J. Urzendowski for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 3:18 left to play. In the statement performance by coach Chris Kliemans squad, the Bison outgained Sam Houston by a decisive 217 yards to 49 in the third quarter and 398-338 overall to end the Bearkats eight-game winning streak. The Bisons improved offensive success in the second half was welcomed after they clung to the 7-3 halftime lead. After the first three Sam Houston possessions didnt produce a first down in the first quarter, the Bison ran off a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive for a 7-0 lead. Crockett caught a 31-yard reception on the drive and then went off right tackle to ease into the Sam Houston end zone from 3 yards out with 3:52 left. Sam Houston quarterback Jared Johnsons 39-yard pass to Gerald Thomas to the Bison 11 on the first play of the second quarter set up the Bearkats for their only score, Luc Swimberghes 22-yard field goal which completed a 15-play, 82- yard drive and pulled them within 7-3 with 13:37 left in the first half. On Sam Houstons following drive, Swimberghe missed a 46-yard field goal attempt. Johnson, facing great pressure by Bison pass rushers, was 19-for-30 for 213 yards and was picked off in the fourth quarter by linebacker Nick DeLuca, and he added another 66 yards on 25 carries. Wentz was 13-for-19 for 179 yards and one interception in the win. North Dakota State sophomore wide receiver Carey Woods left the game on a stretcher midway through the first quarter after taking a hit to the back of his neck on a 9-yard reception. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping ' ' '