Real Salt Lake to retain head coach Jeff Cassar for 2017 season

Jeff Cassar - Real Salt Lake - closeup

Real Salt Lake are bringing head coach Jeff Cassar back for 2017.

RSL announced on Wednesday that the club will retain Cassar for next season after he led the club to the playoffs in 2016 for the second time in his three-year stint in charge of the club. RSL were in position to host a playoff game for most of the year, but a late slide – they went 0-4-3 in their last seven regular season games – saw them drop to the sixth seed ahead of the 3-1 Knockout Round loss at the LA Galaxy last month.

Cassar was set to be out of contract at the end of the year.

“Jeff deserves the 2017 year to continue our club’s competitive growth,” RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday. “His body of work this year – despite the team’s late-season slide – and the overwhelming endorsement of him by numerous voices in our locker room confirm my belief that his continuity and our foundation set up Claret-and-Cobalt success in an extremely competitive Western Conference next season.”

A longtime RSL assistant coach, Cassar took over as Salt Lake manager ahead of the 2014 season. The team finished third in the West and fourth in MLS but lost to LA in the first round of the playoffs in his first year, then finished ninth in the West to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007 in 2015.

Cassar brought RSL back to the postseason this year, guiding the club to a 12-12-10 regular season record. The former FC Dallas and Miami Fusion goalkeeper has a career regular season record of 38-35-29.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity that Mr. Hansen and Real Salt Lake has given me,” Cassar said in the statement. “While I am not satisfied with the lack of hardware during my tenure, I do believe that the infrastructure, resources and talent at our disposal for 2017 will be greatly rewarding for the entire ‘RSL Family,’ especially our incredible fan base.”