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(Sebastian Berhalter/Instagram)

Jersey number: 6

Hometown: London, England

Position: Midfielder

Age: 19

Former club: Columbus Crew SC


Background

(Sebastian Berhalter/Twitter)

Sebastian Berhalter's life isn't like most 19 year olds.

As the youngest player on the Austin FC team, Berhalter has already clutched the MLS Cup trophy before. He's met Christiano Ronaldo and had his first professional start at 18. His name might seem familiar, too—that's because his father is none other than former Columbus Crew SC head coach and current USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter.

With the Berhalter family name to uphold, Berhalter signed with Columbus Crew SC as a Homegrown Player in 2020 after spending six seasons with Columbus Crew SC's Academy from 2014-2019. With nine appearances and four starts on the team last year, the young Berhalter helped the Crew all the way to the MLS Cup Championship.

Berhalter said it was hard to leave the MLS Cup Champions but that he was looking forward to gaining experience while he's on loan with Austin FC.

"It was certainly a tough decision, leaving the best team in the league," Berhalter said. "Me and my dad and everyone at Columbus saw it as a good opportunity to go here and get minutes and be part of a great culture and a great coaching staff."

With Austin FC

(Austin FC/Instagram)

Austin FC acquired Berhalter on loan from Columbus Crew SC with the option to trade for his rights at the end of the season.

As the team's youngest player, he likely won't crack the starting lineup. However, Berhalter will get the opportunity to play behind defensive midfielder Alex Ring, who is widely regarded as one of the top five in his position in the MLS.

Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said the club was excited to strengthen the team's depth with Berhalter.

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

Berhalter also has a history with Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff. Wolff, who saw Berhalter grow up in Germany and has ties to him with the Columbus Crew, said that Berhalter plays beyond his years because of the high level of play he's always been exposed to.

"He's a young player, but he doesn't look like a young player," Wolff said. "He's going to play minutes for us, and his development is continuing, and that's also our responsibility is to continue to make him better."

Berhalter said he remembers playing with Wolff and Wolff's sons, Tyler and Owen, in Germany while both fathers played in the German Bundesliga. The two families also lived just two miles apart in Columbus, deepening their bond.

Just like their fathers before them, Owen and Berhalter now grace the same field on a professional level. While Berhalter is officially signed, 16-year-old Owen has been repping Austin FC during preseason.

"It's pretty surreal," Berhalter said. "(From) just kicking the ball in my basement and now be able to share the field with him is really cool. And with my dad and Josh, it's great to be able to work with Josh since I've known him for so long."

Off the pitch

Just as Gregg Berhalter left Columbus Crew to coach the men's national team, his son stepped up to the club for his professional debut.

Gregg still got a chance to see him play for his first-ever MLS start against the New York Red Bulls in 2020 and said he was proud of his son's dedication to the family's favorite sport.

"Now I know how my parents felt all these years," Berhalter said. "We're proud of him. It shows that he's worked hard for many years and all that hard work and dedication has paid off."

Berhalter is a legacy on both sides—his mother, Rosalind Santana, was a soccer player for the Tar Heels herself.

Although he grew up in Columbus, Berhalter was born in London and lived in Germany as a child.

Popular

Austonia file photo. (Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.

The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.

Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.

The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.

No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.

According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.

Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be


The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.

Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.

Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."

"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.

This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.

Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.

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