Golden Opportunity for Kreis

Kreis reportedly in talks with NYCFC management
by Nick Chavez   |   Monday, October 07, 2013

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

The uneasy balancing act of staying fiercely focused on your current job while planning ahead for what will be a very glamorous and exciting new project seems to be the tightrope being walked now by Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis, if reports are to be believed.

The young, successful and charismatic coach of Real Salt Lake, perennial title-contenders under his watch, has reportedly been courted by New York City FC representatives to be the club’s 1st ever head coach. Reports claim that Kreis was even given permission by RSL to visit England to meet NYCFC and Manchester City executives to further discuss his potential role in the MLS expansion club set to begin play in 2015. 

When asked about the situation, Kreis said, “I want to be clear here and say: Nothing from me has changed.”

“As I said 2 weeks ago, my focus is completely on the team,” he said, referring to RSL. “I focus on doing everything I can to prepare the team to win an Open Cup, to challenge for a Supporters' Shield and hopefully get ourselves in a position to win an MLS Cup. And just because somebody comes out with an article … it doesn't change my position. That is exactly where I have been and that's where I will continue to be through the end of the season.”

NYCFC, for their part, have responded to the rumors by saying that no decision has yet been made. But there is little wonder why they might be interested in the 40-year-old coach’s services considering his impressive resume.

He became the youngest MLS coach to ever win an MLS Cup in only his 2nd full season with RSL, and is also the only coach to lead an MLS club to reach the CONCACAF Champion’s League final. Since his 1st full season of coaching Real Salt Lake in 2008, he has lead the club to the MLS playoffs every single season and looks set to continue that trend this season.

Most recently, he led his club to the U.S. Open Cup final, only to fall to D.C. United at home this past week.  And all of this achieved while losing several key players throughout the seasons frequently due to having to meet the club’s salary cap requirements, and having to continuously rebuild to keep the team competitive.

Kreis is also a man who understands MLS and how to work within its unique rules as well as anyone. He spent his entire professional playing career with MLS, beginning in the inaugural season with Dallas Burn. The 5-time MLS all-star later moved on to Real Salt Lake as a player, finishing his career there, being named as coach immediately upon retirement in 2007.

His unrivaled experience of spending the whole of his professional career with MLS for the entire length of the league’s existence as a player and a coach would be especially important for an ownership group that is unfamiliar with the unique operating practices and nuances of MLS, such as working with a salary cap, and getting the most out of the MLS SuperDraft, completely alien concepts to the likes of Manchester City or the New York Yankees. For these reasons especially, his potential hiring may very well be a more shrewd decision than signing a foreign, higher-profile manager.

As strong as his MLS career has been, it’s his achievements and talents as a coach that have really launched Kreis into American soccer stardom. He is a coach whose passion and dedication to sport is only matched by his ambition. He has made it clear before that he hopes to one day coach in a World Cup.

With that in mind, one can see how an opportunity to coach NYCFC, seemingly destined to be a “big club” due to the wealth and prestige of its owners the Yankees and Manchester City, in the biggest market in the U.S., must be impossible for him to turn down. The world’s eyes will be on New York City FC when it begins play in 2015.

And if Kreis can work the same type of magic he’s conjured up in Salt Lake City, he can expect the world football community to be on notice to exactly what type of quality he can provide in team building and management. 


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