Crew: Midfielder (and new dad) Eddie Gaven

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When Eddie Gaven went pro at age 16, he was the baby of MLS. Now he's got a baby of his own.

Gaven, 24, and his wife, Paula, welcomed son Zachary Edward into the world last week. Since then, the Crew midfielder has been subjected to the usual newborn rigmarole.

"I've been waking up pretty much every two hours," Gaven said. "When I'm the one rocking him, he just gets louder. I hand him off to my wife and he's silent, happy and peaceful."

The parental duties haven't kept him from getting to practice on time, though.

"I just maybe have to have an extra cup of coffee or something," Gaven said. "I've been trying to take naps during the day."

Gaven has lived fast, but not in the party animal sense of the phrase. He joined his hometown New York/New Jersey MetroStars at age 16. He finished college as a teenager. He was engaged before he could drink legally and married not long after.

Now he's stepping into fatherly responsibilities that mirror his role on the pitch, helping to shepherd a Crew roster that's packed with new faces after an offseason overhaul.

"This is my ninth year playing in the league, so I'm definitely trying to help out some of the guys who are young," Gaven said. "I try to lead kind of by the way that I play. I'm not a very loud guy who's going to yell and scream."

After a creaky start, the new-look Crew (3-1-3) is starting to gel. They're undefeated in six matches, though only recently have they started to look the part.

A big part of the recent surge has been Gaven's interaction with Robbie Rogers and Dilly Duka. The trio has been constantly shifting between left, right and center midfield to open up space and keep defenders guessing.

"Whether it's right, left or center, I don't really care," Gaven said. "As long as I'm out there, I'm just going to work hard for the team anywhere I am."

Longtime fans know he's not kidding about his work ethic, which bodes well for the Crew and even better for young Zachary Edward Gaven.

What: Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders

Where: Crew Stadium, 1 Black and Gold Blvd., North Side

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7