Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis will not return to the club next season and instead will accept the same position with expansion club New York City FC.
Kreis arrived in Salt Lake City as a player back in 2004 and played 2 1/2 seasons with the club, scoring 17 goals in 58 MLS appearances with the Claret- and-Cobalt before retiring on May 3, 2007 to become the club's second-ever head coach.
"I'd like to thank Jason for a remarkably successful run during his nine years with Real Salt Lake as both a player and as a head coach," said RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen. "Jason obviously leaves the Utah soccer scene significantly better than he found it, building the competitive foundation of one of Major League Soccer's elite organizations. We will continue to move forward - quickly - with the 'team is the star' ethos that he and our general manager Garth Lagerwey implemented back in 2007.
"We are certain that the job Jason leaves behind - with both the accomplished veteran core and the glut of promising youth - is quite attractive to potential candidates, and we expect to name Jason's replacement next week."
Under Kreis, Real Salt Lake rose from expansion doormat to perennial MLS Cup contenders. His crowning achievement with RSL came in 2009, when he led the Claret-and-Cobalt to an MLS Cup title in its fifth season with a surprise penalty kick shootout win at MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The triumph in 2009 made Kreis the youngest-ever head coach to win an MLS Cup title and the club also advanced to three other major finals, including the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League final, the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final and MLS Cup 2013.
Kreis also led RSL to six consecutive playoff appearances, the longest such active streak in MLS. The Claret-and-Cobalt has also hit the 15-win and 50- point plateaus in four consecutive seasons, becoming the first team in MLS's post-shootout era to do so when it accomplished that feat earlier in 2013.
Kreis is seventh all-time in MLS with 90 regular-season wins and 327 regular-season points. His all-time record across all competitions is 111-87-69.
This past season, RSL finished with a 16-10-8 record and reached the MLS Cup final before falling to Sporting Kansas City, 7-6, in a memorable penalty kick shootout at Sporting Park.
With his time in Utah complete, Kreis will become the first-ever head coach at New York City FC, which is slated to begin MLS competition in 2015 along with Orlando City SC.
Kreis will officially begin his duties in January of 2014 and will travel to England to spend time with Premier League associate club Manchester City.
While in England, Kreis "will be immersed in all aspects of Manchester City FC, observing in particular, the club's approach to coaching, training, and player development, with the goal of applying similar approaches to New York City FC," according to a club statement.
"I am looking forward to making my contribution to New York City FC from the very outset," Kreis said. "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."
"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 sporting director Claudio Reyna. "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."