Real Salt Lake names Kreis new coach

May 3, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY -- Jason Kreis, the all-time leading scorer in Major League Soccer, retired as a player Thursday to become coach of Real Salt Lake.

Owner Dave Checketts said a change was necessary because of RSL's 0-2-2 record.

John Ellinger is out as coach but will stay with the team as technical director and director of soccer operations. General Manager Steve Pastorino resigned.

"I know that the decisions that we've made are the right ones for our franchise," said Checketts, who called Ellinger a gentleman and a friend. "This is just a results-oriented business."

Kreis, 34, has been in the league for 11 seasons and joined RSL as its first player.

"I want to win," he said at a news conference. "There's nothing else more important to me. Nothing else even comes close to motivating me, and nothing else consumes me the way that a disappointing loss can."

Kreis said he was offered the job Tuesday night, a day after RSL's 2-0 loss to Colorado.

Ellinger was not at the news conference announcing the changes. Soccer star Freddy Adu joined the team this season, reuniting with Ellinger, who coached him on the U.S. Under-17 team.

Checketts said Ellinger was instrumental in forming the team and has an eye for spotting talent.

"There are players that are here because they want to play for him and I'm aware of their feelings. But the reality is that we've got to get results," Checketts said.

He said he has long believed Kreis would make an excellent coach.

Critics may point to his lack of sideline experience, but Checketts said Kreis has a record of proving skeptics wrong.

"It is that will, that very strong will to win, that qualifies him to be the head coach of Real Salt Lake," Checketts said. "And I think it is that strong will, that energy, that dedication, that will turn him into one of the great head coaches in history."

Kreis, who is signing a multiyear contract, becomes the youngest head coach in the MLS.

An international search will be conducted for a new general manager.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press