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Austin FC acquire midfielder Sebastian Berhalter on loan

Mike Craven
Austin American-Statesman
Former Columbus Crew SC midfielder Sebastian Berhalter, left, is the newest member of the MLS expansion Austin FC. The 19-year-old son of U.S. national team coach Gregg Berhalter, was acquired on loan for the 2021 season.

Josh Wolff spent years learning from current U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter as an assistant for the national team and at Columbus Crew SC. Wolff, the first-year head coach of Austin FC, hopes to pay that tutelage forward to Sebastian Berhalter, Gregg’s son and the newest senior-team player for Austin FC. 

Berhalter, a 19-year-old central midfielder, was acquired on loan from Columbus Crew SC for the 2021 season with Austin FC holding the option to trade for his permanent rights at the end of the season. Additional General Allocation Money (GAM) could be rewarded to Columbus Crew SC based on his performance. 

“I’m excited for this new opportunity and looking forward to the challenge,” Berhalter said through the team’s press release. “I can’t wait to get started.” 

Berhalter rose to the first-team ranks at Columbus with four starts in nine appearances for the club in 2020. He played for the Crew SC Academy from 2014 to 2019, logging 97 starts in 103 appearances for various age groups under the Crew’s crest. 

More:Austin FC set to start training on March 8, exploring international contests

He played the 2019 season as a North Carolina Tar Heel, making 16 appearances as a freshman. He signed with the Crew as a Homegrown Player prior to the 2020 season. 

“Sebastian is a young and talented midfielder who will add depth to our growing roster,” Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “We are excited to have him join the Club and look forward (to) his continued professional development with Austin FC.” 

Berhalter is the 24th player listed on the Austin FC senior roster. He joins a midfield consisting of Alex Ring, Tomas Pochettino, Daniel Pereira, Diego Fagundez, Ulises Segura and Jared Stroud. The 5-foot-9 Sebastian was born in London, England, but he played in three games nationally for the United States' U-16 team back in 2017. 

Austin FC added Slovenian left back Zan Kolmanic earlier in the day. The club began voluntary training as a team this week with preseason officially beginning on March 8. The MLS season begins the weekend of April 17 with schedules not yet released.