New York City FC has named its first head coach, luring Jason Kreis away from Real Salt Lake. Both clubs announced the news Tuesday evening.
Kreis initially made his name as a coach when he guided RSL to the 2009 MLS Cup, its first and so far only trophy. Despite the relative lack of silverware, the 1999 MLS MVP has built a reputation for possession-oriented, attacking soccer built around a team-first mentality.
After taking over from inaugural coach John Ellinger in May 2007 following a decorated playing career, Kreis took Salt Lake to the playoffs for six straight seasons from 2008-2013. His final match in charge was the 2013 MLS Cup final, which RSL lost in a penalty shootout. It was RSL's second loss of the season in a final after falling at home to D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup.
“Jason is one of the true pioneers of Major League Soccer, and a leader any team would be proud to have at the helm," said NYCFC director of soccer Claudio Reyna in a statement. "His skills and experience, together with his commitment to quality football make him the ideal choice to lead New York City FC in its first season and beyond. He has already left a historic mark on the league, both as a player and coach and we have every confidence in him continuing to do so at New York City FC.”
Kreis will not see any NYCFC players on the field until the team begins play with the 2015 MLS season, and instead will spend time with NYCFC's parent club, Manchester City, before beginning to mould his new side.
“I am looking forward to making my contribution to New York City FC from the very outset," said Kreis in the team's statement. "The opportunity to develop the first professional club based in New York City was impossible to pass up as was the chance to immerse myself in the football operations in Manchester observing some of the leading figures in European football. There will be a lot to do before our inaugural season in 2015, but I’m confident that with the support teams in the City organization, we will be well placed to hit the ground running.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone associated with Real Salt Lake, including its fantastic fans for the many special years I spent there. I wish them all the very best for the future.”
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