A Kickoff Letter from Columbus Crew President & GM Tim Bezbatchenko to Crew Supporters

By Mariana Smithfield

Tim Bezbatchenko

Crew supporters,


It’s always special to start a new season, but tomorrow is a day I know I’ll always cherish as we commemorate our 2023 MLS Cup championship together at Lower.com Field and begin 2024 with a constant mission in mind – to bring more trophies to Columbus. You helped us lift the Cup at home on December 9 thanks to the energy you provided that day and throughout the year, including a Club-record 18 matches with a fully packed fortress. We had 20,802 strong for the Final!


While I can remember that match like it was yesterday – it’s been a short 11 weeks, after all – I had a moment this week to reflect on last year and the incredible experiences we shared. Wilfried often talks with the players about “evoking emotions” when we play – for our Club and our supporters – and I became emotional after watching a 2023 season recap video this past week with my colleagues.


Of course, reliving the joy of significant wins like Club América in Leagues Cup and a 3-0 home victory in our Hell is Real rivalry match, as well as thrilling extra-time victories on the road against Orlando City SC and FC Cincinnati in the playoffs, helped spark those feelings. Then celebrating the 2-1 victory over LAFC on that chilly December night followed by the parade downtown alongside my family, like many of you did with yours, brought everything to another level. But recalling the journey, the commitment and most importantly the people – our players, coaches, staff and fans – who made it possible struck me most. We competed and faced adversity, and yes, failed at times like in Nashville and Orlando. However, we persevered and became better from it as a team and individuals. All Together Now, we wrote a special chapter in our Club’s history, becoming one of only three MLS teams to claim three league titles.


And yet… We want more.


After tomorrow’s pre-match celebration where we will hand out the championship rings and unveil the MLS Cup year on the stadium wall, we fully turn the page to this upcoming season, one where we will showcase our Club and Columbus through the global game during international tournaments in Concacaf Champions Cup and Leagues Cup, as well when hosting the 2024 MLS All-Star Game in July. Let’s continue to take Columbus to the world through the world’s sport.


We retained most of our core players with an effective balance of veteran leadership and young, talented players who have even higher long-term potential, and added key pieces this offseason that will strengthen our side, particularly with a full slate of fixtures in 2024. While everyone is extremely proud of last season’s achievements, this year presents new opportunities and challenges, and we will continue to work relentlessly to reach our best form on the pitch. We also remain dedicated to our bold, entertaining style of play with the goal of consistently contending for championships and igniting an unrelenting passion for soccer.


With your massive support, we have proven that Columbus is a Soccer City, and we look forward to further establishing our place as the Heart of American Soccer this year, including hosting a number of international matches across the women’s and men’s game. Thank you for everything you do for our Club, our home and our beautiful game.


Glory to Columbus!



Tim Bezbatchenko

President & General Manager

Columbus Crew