"I'm probably more confident on the ball than the typical defender because I was used to being on the ball while playing center midfield," said Gerstenberger.
He also received some training in England as a high school student while trying out for the Middlesbrough Football Club.
"Anybody who goes over there and trains, it's just a quicker game," said Gerstenberger. "You can see how advanced the game is over there."
Gerstenberger knows he may have to wait a while to make an impact with Columbus. The Crew returns several defenders from last year's team, which allowed the third fewest goals in MLS (36). Still, he said he's ready to step in when called upon.
"I'm definitely up for it," said Gerstenberger. "I think the pre-season will get me ready for the season. Obviously it's going to be a challenge because it's my first year ... but I'm looking forward to it.""