Crew names Brian Bliss Technical Director
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Crew today appointed Brian Bliss as the club's first-ever technical director. Bliss, a former Crew player who holds a U.S. Soccer Federation 'A' Coaching License, has served as director of coaching for the Kansas Youth Soccer Association for the last year, following a 20-year professional playing and coaching career.
As technical director, the 42-year-old Bliss will primarily support General Manager Mark McCullers and Head Coach Sigi Schmid and the senior coaching staff in the management of player-personnel matters, player assessment and domestic and international scouting. Additionally, Bliss will have a role in the ongoing development of the Crew Soccer Academy program and the Crew's youth player-development curriculum.
"Brian possesses a well-respected technical mind and shares our vision of a long-term plan to create the most successful player-development program in Major League Soccer, so it is with great enthusiasm and anticipation that we welcome him back to the Crew organization," McCullers said. "Interfacing with the coaching staffs of both the senior team and youth academy teams, he will be an integral part of a competition staff that is dedicated to achieving the highest possible professional environment for our players and to developing a winning tradition for our fans."
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Bliss was a member of the 1990 U.S. World Cup team and earned 33 caps with the U.S. National Team, overall, from 1984-95, tallying two goals. He also represented the U.S. at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
His playing career culminated with Major League Soccer's first three seasons. In 50 MLS games from 1996-98, he scored two goals and added a pair of assists. Both goals were scored during a season-and-a-half stint with the Crew (1996-97), in which he appeared in 31 games. He was traded to New York on July 8, 1997 and finished that season with the MetroStars, then concluded his career with one season in Kansas City (1998).
Bliss began his coaching career in 1999 as head coach of the A-League's Connecticut Wolves. He then returned to Kansas City, where he served as a Wizards assistant coach from 2000-July 2006 and as interim head coach from July-Dec. 2006. During his tenure in K.C., the club won MLS Cup and the Supporters' Shield in 2000 and the 2004 U.S. Open Cup.
Prior to MLS, Bliss played for Carl Zeiss Jena (1992-95), Chemnitzer FC (1991-92) and Energie Cottbus (1991) of the German Second Division, Boston Bolts (1990) and Albany Capitals (1989) of the APSL and Cleveland Force of the MISL (1987-88). He played collegiately at Southern Connecticut State University, where he earned a B.S. in economics.
"I am happy to have the opportunity return to the Crew and to the Hunt family," Bliss said. "Obviously, having spent time playing in Columbus, I have some familiarity with, and ties to, the area. I'm looking forward to the challenge of working with the coaching staff and Mark McCullers to get the Crew back on a winning track."
Founded by American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club, anchoring a diverse sports and entertainment enterprise. One of the league's Charter Members and the U.S. Open Cup champion in 2002, it will open its 13th season overall and 10th in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium on Saturday, March 29, when it plays host to Eastern Conference-rival Toronto FC.
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