Born: August 1, 1973
Town: Englewood, New Jersey
Gregg Berhalter was born August 1, 1973 in Englewood and grew up in neighboring Tenafly. He excelled in a number of sports, but particularly as a soccer fullback and halfback. As a teenager, he enrolled at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, where he teamed with Claudio Reyna and Petter Villegas to give the Gray Bees a powerhouse squad. St. Benedict’s won the state championship in 1989 and 1990; both squads went undefeated and the 1990 team was ranked #1 in the nation.
Highly recruited out of high school, Gregg accepted a scholarship at North Carolina and became one of the greatest players in Tar Heels history. In three varsity seasons, playing primarily on defense, he scored 13 goals and had 10 assists. Gregg was an All-American as a sophomore and junior. He left school in 19994, prior to his senior season after receiving an offer to turn pro with FC Zwolle, a Dutch team renowned for developing young players for first division-clubs. That same year, Gregg made his first appearance for Team USA, against Saudi Arabia in an October match.
Over the next 15 years, Gregg distinguished himself as one of the top American players in European soccer. He played more than 100 games for German club Energie Cottbus, serving as captain. He also captained the 1860 Munich club for three seasons. During his European career, Gregg made 44 appearances for Team USA in international play. He took injured Jeff Agoos’s place in the starting lineup during World Cup 2002.
In 2009, Gregg returned to the U.S. to play for the L.A. Galaxy of Major League Soccer. He teamed on defense with 20-year-old Omar Gonzalez and cut the team’s goals-against in half. Gonzalez won Rookie of the Year. In the playoffs that year, his first MLS goal propelled the Galaxy into an MLS Cup meeting with Real Salt Lake. Salt Lake won the championship on penalty kicks. In 2010, the Galaxy fashioned the league’s top record, and further reduced their goals-against. Gregg retired at 38 as a player following the 2011 campaign. It was quite a send-off, as the Galaxy defeated Houston in the MLS Cup.
Gregg spent one year as an assistant with the Galaxy and then moved back to Europe as coach of the Swedish team Hammerby IF. He became head coach of the Columbus Crew heading into the 2014 season.