After missing the latter half of the Dallas Burn's disappointing 2003 campaign due to a torn ACL in his left knee, veteran forward Jason Kreis is ready to make his return just two goals away from becoming Major League Soccer's all-time goal-scoring leader. He answered questions from DallasBurn.com about his comeback and his team's quick start in 2004.
Question: How is the knee feeling?
Jason Kreis: It's doing very well right now. I feel like I'm ready to play. Hopefully that's going to happen this weekend (against Los Angeles). I was available for last week's game but didn't have a chance to get in.
Q: How hard was the recovery process for you, both physically and mentally?
JK: It's been extremely difficult. I've been working non-stop for eight months, doing a couple of sessions a day of physical therapy and gym workouts. It's been really frustrating because it has taken a little longer than I had anticipated.
Psychologically it was tough too. Any time you hit a little setback you start thinking 'Oh, no, I'm going to need another operation,' or 'Here we go again,' but thankfully I've come through all of that now and feel like I'm where I need to be. I'm extremely hungry to play right now.
Q: What are your thoughts on the start that your team has had this year, being the only remaining unbeaten side?
JK: The guys are playing extremely well right now. It's clear that for this team to succeed, it is going to take a team effort, because I don't really think we have a team full of superstars. It's all about the team being united and on the same page, and right now we are. I know that with the success we've been having (Burn head coach) Colin Clarke isn't going to want to shake things up too much, so I'll just have to be patient and take advantage of my opportunity when it comes up.
Q: What can you add to the team right now?
JK: Well I've always considered myself a pretty good finisher, and I think our forwards have gotten enough opportunities to score some more goals. Hopefully when I get back in there I will finish my chances and add some goal scoring.
Q: How important has the team's return to the Cotton Bowl this season been?
JK: I think of all the changes we made this offseason, with a new coach, new GM, and a lot of new players, the most important change was going back to the Cotton Bowl. Dragon Stadium never really felt like home for us and it wasn't easy for us to play our game on that field. It's hard to keep possession of the ball on a field like that. And for me, personally, I was very apprehensive about having to return to a turf field. I won't say that my injury was caused 100 percent by the field, but it was definitely more than 50 percent.
Q: And soon you will have a stadium to really call home with the facility in Frisco is complete. How exciting is that for the club?
JK: We're all extremely hopeful about moving to the new stadium. We can't wait. It's always a dream to be able to play in your own soccer-specific stadium and I think it will be great for us. And I live in Frisco, so it will certainly be convenient for me.
Q: You are one of few remaining players from the inaugural MLS season in 1996. Where do you see your career going from here?
JK: I feel like I have a couple of good years left in me. Positionally, I may need to drop back into the midfield, where I played for most of my life, to be most effective, but I know I can still contribute to the team. After that I'd like to get into coaching in the league. I have a "B" license right now and I'm coaching an Olympic Development team in North Texas, so I'd like to continue coaching and stay involved with MLS.