COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Dr. Pete Edwards understands the passion of Columbus SC fans — the team’s new name as part of a rebranding announced Monday — but he said that despite the change, “in my heart, we’re always the Crew.”

Edwards and his family have owned the team since 2018 along with Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, but Edwards’ connections to the team as a surgeon and a supporter go back many more years.

The team was originally known as the Columbus Crew beginning with the first season of Major League Soccer in 1996, and then as Columbus Crew SC starting in 2014. The rebranding removes Crew from the team’s name but keeps it as a nickname expected to remain in wide use.

“SC or FC is a common finishing mark … so most clubs are doing that, and that’s to emphasize the city,” Edwards told NBC4’s Justin Holbrock. “We thought that was the way people were going around the country, and it also allowed us to separate the Crew and let the Crew stand alone.

“We really feel like the bulk of our fans will always identify us as the Crew, and by doing Columbus SC, we were able to separate the Crew and let the Crew stand alone. And in my heart, we’re always the Crew.”

The name change has not been well-received among fans, with some protesting Monday at the team’s stadium and with the Nordecke supporters group launching the hashtag “#WeAreTheCrew.”

You can watch Holbrock’s full interview with Edwards in the player above.