Photograph courtesy Columbus Crew SC Communications

Former Spider soccer player Tim Bezbatchenko, ’04 — whom we profiled in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue — has a major new update and impressive new hardware.

In his second season as the Columbus Crew SC’s president and general manager, Bezbatchenko lifted the MLS Cup. The team won the 2020 championship in December with a decisive 3-0 win over defending champion Seattle Sounders.

“From the start, our ambition has been that we want to be consistent contenders," he told the Columbus Dispatch at the start of the playoffs. “Why can’t we be great? We’ve been ambitious from the start.”

This is the second time Bezbatchenko has led a team to a championship. He was general manager of Toronto FC in 2017 when it won the MLS Cup, the Supporters’ Shield (for best regular-season record), and the Canadian Championship.

In Columbus, he is a key architect of the team’s renaissance. When he arrived, Crew fans had just prevented its relocation and forced an ownership change. Now, Bezbatchenko has led them to a championship.

“For so many reasons, 2020 has been miserable, with few bright spots,” Austin Lindberg wrote for ESPN. “The Crew’s championship, on the back of their fans’ righteous, successful campaign to keep their club — the league’s original club — in town, is a sliver of sunshine we could all do with more of.”