New Crew general manager Issa Tall has been prepared for years for this role

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Crew’s new general manager said his predecessor groomed him for years to take on the role.

Issa Tall was introduced Friday at Field, one day after he was named to the role. His hiring was announced at the same time as the departure of president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, who is joining Black Knight Football Club as team president.

“It’s always something we’ve talked for years with Tim,” Tall said. “He’s always coached me up to be a GM one day. That’s why when there were opportunities in the league, he pushed me to go and to try it. So did ownership, and they didn’t block me.”

But that opportunity didn’t come elsewhere but instead with the Crew, where Tall and team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said he was quickly elevated after Bezbatchenko was hired away.

Tall had served as assistant general manager for six seasons.

Bezbatchenko, a Westerville native, came the Crew from Toronto FC and was one of the first hires after the ownership group that includes the Haslams took over. He oversaw the signing of two players, Lucas Zelarayan and Cucho Hernandez, for team record fees, the opening of Field and the team’s training facility next to Historic Crew Stadium, two MLS Cup titles, and the team’s appearance this year in the CONCACAF Champions Cup final.

“He’s the one who introduced me to this club, this city,” Tall said. “He’s the one who convinced me to join this city. The club in 2024 is not what it was in 2019, and I’m grateful for what he’s done to me.”

The Crew has been off since a 3-0 loss to C.F. Pachuca on the road in the Champions Cup final, a difficult game where several coaches and players took part despite suffering from a stomach bug. MLS play resumes on June 14 at New York City FC.

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