Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kreis Gets 3-Year Extension

In keeping with the plan of building a foundation, a core with continuity, Real Salt Lake announced today a 3-year extension of coach Jason Kreis' contract. Here is the press release:



Former RSL Captain & First-ever 100-Goal MLS Scorer Secured Through 2011 Season

SANDY, UT (Wednesday, January 14, 2009) – Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis signed a contract extension today, ensuring his presence on the RSL sidelines through the 2011 Major League Soccer season, RSL President Bill Manning announced today. Kreis led RSL to the 2008 MLS Western Conference Finals in 2008, his first full season at the competitive helm, on the heels of a 10-10-10 (40 points) regular season.

"Jason continues to fit the profile of every great leader I have worked with throughout my career,” said RSL Owner and SCP Worldwide Chairman Dave Checketts. “He is a hard-working, dedicated over-achiever who refuses to accept anything less than maximum effort from everyone around him. And while we have made great strides thus far under his leadership, I know we are bound for unprecedented heights, and I know that Jason is the right person to help guide our team's ascent."

The 2008 campaign reflected the results of an extensive team overhaul, which saw the team mold 21 new faces – added since the final half of the 2007 season – into a competitive unit that opened the state-of-the-art Rio Tinto Stadium, dramatically qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in the final minute of the year and defeated the higher-seeded CD Chivas USA in the West Semifinals before ultimately bowing to the New York Red Bulls one step shy of MLS Cup – into the most successful and competitive campaign in Real Salt Lake’s four-season history.

“It is imperative that the competitive side of our organization maintain continuity and build off of last season’s success,” said Manning, accompanied by Kreis and team General Manager Garth Lagerwey as the trio prepare for Thursday’s 2009 MLS SuperDraft in St. Louis. “The dedication, work ethic and commitment to excel on the team side have been exemplary under Jason’s direction, and I felt it was important to secure the future of our coaching staff before going into the last year of his deal. We could not be more pleased as an organization that Jason will continue to guide our team on the field."

Kreis, an American soccer icon and MLS pioneer, became the second head coach in Real Salt Lake history on May 3, 2007, when Checketts tabbed the team’s Captain, its first-ever player and (at the time) the League’s all-time leading scorer to seize the reins of Utah’s Division I professional soccer team. The Duke University product was the eleventh ex-MLS player (not including interim stints) to take over a League side, and is currently one of eight head coaches in the League (including Columbus’ Robert Warzycha) to make the switch from an MLS pitch to the sideline.

"First and most importantly, I am extremely grateful to Dave Checketts and the rest of the ownership group, Bill Manning and Garth Lagerwey for this gesture of faith. It is a reflection on the team-oriented approach that the entire technical staff has embraced since day one. This also would not be possible without the dedication, hard work and success of the players on the field. We have turned things around to the point where the great people of Utah believe, as I do, that ‘Fortune Favors the Bold.’ Everyone involved in establishing the expectations of success for our team continues to work towards earning championships, and I do not take that responsibility lightly."

Intense and passionate, Mr. Kreis went 6-13-7 (25 points) during the partial 2007 season, his first on the sidelines, going 0-1-4 prior to notching his first career win, yet finishing the year 4-4-3, after acquiring talented young players Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley, Yura Movsisyan, Chris Wingert and several others, including a trio of Argentines, to the squad.

At the time of his hire, Mr. Kreis became the youngest active head coach in MLS at 34 years and 127 days of age. Kreis works closely with former Blue Devil and Dallas Burn teammate and current RSL General Manager Lagerwey regarding player acquisitions, scouting, the MLS Draft and all player personnel-related matters. Both are committed to implementing a culture where players, staff and fans work as one for the RSL shield, epitomizing a “team is the star” attitude. Kreis, Lagerwey and the team’s coaching staff – Jeff Cassar, Robin Fraser and Brian Johnson – compose the lone technical staff among MLS’ 15 teams comprised entirely of ex-MLS players.

Kreis abruptly retired with 108 career goals to his credit, becoming just the eighth person in the history of the five major U.S. sports leagues to serve as a head coach while holding his league’s career scoring record (and only the third athlete in the post-World War II era). The first MLS player to break the century mark in goals scored, Mr. Kreis’ 108 total goals scored ranks third behind Jaime Moreno (112) and Ante Razov (109), each of whom surpassed Kreis late in the 2007 season.

The native of Omaha, Neb., was the first American-born player in MLS history to earn MVP honors (remaining one of only two U.S.-born MVPs in 13 MLS seasons), capturing the 1999 award after leading the Dallas Burn in goals (18) and assists (15), a stellar campaign which marked the first “15-15” season in League annals. Coming through in the clutch on the field was a Kreis trademark, with an astounding 31 of his 108 career goals game-winners. The Duke graduate ranks among the top five MLS career leaders in games (305), starts (282), minutes (25,242), shots (818) and shots on goal (370).

Mr. Kreis became the first player in RSL history on November 17, 2004, when the 12-year MLS veteran was acquired from FC Dallas in exchange for future considerations. Interestingly, career strikes #1 and #100 shared a common opponent – the Kansas City Wizards, also the victim of Kreis’ lone career MLS hat trick. Kreis is also the only RSL player to notch three goals in one game, albeit in a 4-6 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss at Minnesota in 2005.

Kreis, an avid woodworker and golfer with a voracious appetite for reading, resides in Park City, Utah, with his wife, Kimberly, and two sons.