MLS Champion Columbus Crew To Visit White House Monday

On July 8, 2009, in Articles, by Baller-in-Chief

The Crew, champion of Major League Soccer, will visit the White House on Monday for a congratulatory meeting with President Barack Obama.

(From Shawn Mitchell for the Columbus Dispatch Online)

Crew earns date with president at White House

The Crew, champion of Major League Soccer, will visit the White House on Monday for a congratulatory meeting with President Barack Obama.

That’s an event big enough for captain Frankie Hejduk to shave.

But a haircut? Not a chance, he said yesterday after the team heard the news.

“Maybe just a shave,” said Hejduk, who sports shoulder-length hair and, yesterday, a mean 5 o’clock shadow.

“We’re excited,” he said. “Not too many sports teams get to do that. Only the champions. It’s an honor for us to be there and represent the Crew to the nation. Everyone’s been hoping that we would get to do it. Any time you can wear your championship ring to the White House and get your picture taken with the president is a huge honor.”

The Crew will participate in a cleanup project around Crew Stadium today as part of Obama’s new “United We Serve” initiative and in another public-service project in Washington after its White House visit.

The Crew plans to fly to Washington on Monday morning and tour the White House before spending 20 minutes or so with Obama in the afternoon.

“I’m not a Democrat or Republican,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “I’m just happy to be able to see the White House and the president. That’s something special for everybody.”

Crew midfielder Brian Carroll won an MLS Cup with D.C. United in 2004 but United did not make a presidential visit.

“I don’t know if they never tried to set it up or it just wasn’t possible at that time but we never got a chance to go,” Carroll said. “I’ve been by the White House but have never been inside. It will be a fun experience.”

The Crew has invited former coach Sigi Schmid and former players Ezra Hendrickson, Brad Evans and Stefani Miglioranzi. They were important figures from the team that beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in the Cup final last season.

Evans and current Crew players Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers will be with the U.S. national team Monday for the Gold Cup. Rogers said yesterday he did not know if the trio would be able to make it to Washington.

Carroll said if he got a chance to speak to Obama he would “probably ask him how much of a soccer fan” the president is.

“We know he is a good basketball player and a basketball fan,” Carroll said. “But how much does he like soccer?”

Editor’s Note: Evidently the Baller-in-Chief must like soccer at least a little bit, since he is scheduled to attend the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa next year.

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