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Eric Gehrig Playing Well for Columbus Crew
It’s been a long road to starting for the Columbus Crew for both Eric Gehrig and Josh Williams.
Overlooked coming out of Horizon League universities, there came a point when both pondered if they would ever play professional soccer.
Upon finishing his senior season at Loyola-Chicago and earning his third straight All-Horizon League First Team honor, Gehrig went undrafted in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. The Schererville, Ind., native earned an invite to preseason with Kansas City, but failed to catch on with the club. Gehrig went back to Chicago to finish his degree and after graduating in the summer of 2010, decided to give professional soccer another shot. The defensive midfielder/defender caught the eye of Crew assistant coach Ricardo Iribarren at a combine in Omaha, prompting Brian Bliss to place a discovery claim on Gehrig. As he says, “The rest is history.”
“It’s easy to get discouraged. I got turned away in K.C. I could have hung it up and that would’ve been that,” the 24-year-old said. “I never thought (playing in MLS) was something I couldn’t do. I knew the odds were against me. I just knew if I put the work in and did the right things, it would work out for me and it did.”
“Last year we had a great pairing together in the Reserve League. We played good soccer, built out of the back and we definitely built a comfort with each other,” Williams said.
That chemistry carried over into 2012 as the two have been called upon in a time of need for the Black & Gold. With injuries to center backs Julius James and Carlos Mendes, each had earned a pair of starts alongside Crew Captain Chad Marshall this season.
But when Marshall was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms before last week’s match in Portland, the tandem’s chemistry paid off as they helped the Crew to a clean sheet against the Timbers to earn an important road point in the captain’s absence.
“One might look at an away match at Portland as a daunting task – and it was, don’t get me wrong – but we’re confident in ourselves,” Gehrig reflected on the road draw. “We’re confident in the guys around us. We’re comfortable with each other and it worked out well.”