US President Barack Obama has lauded MLS club the Columbus Crew for recent efforts both on and off the field.

President Obama praised former coach Sigi Schmid saying, "Under your leadership the team made an incredible turnaround from a losing season in 2007 to the best record in MLS in 2008."

Past and present players and officials were present at the White House where they received their championship rings.

The President also thanked the Crew for their many community service projects, such as the clinic at a D.C. elementary school the team was scheduled to do following its White House visit.

"I want to salute these guys for donating so much time and energy to the Columbus community and thank them for participating in our 'United We Stand' summer service project," he said.

"That kind of spirit of service is something this White House wants to encourage for all citizens. Especially when it's from professional athletes it's especially gratifying."