SANDY, Utah – Amid all of the speculation about Bob Bradley’s status as coach of the US national team, there is one candidate who’d like the job: Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis. Well, perhaps not now, but someday.
“Just as when I was a player, if you’d asked me if I wanted to play for the national team, the answer’s absolutely yes,” Kreis told MLSsoccer.com. “I think it’s the dream of every player [to play for the national team], and now that I’m a coach, it’s the dream of mine to one day coach the national team, no doubt.”
Kreis, a native of Omaha, Neb., was always a straightforward, blue-collar guy who would simply outwork his opponents. Since retiring as a pro soccer player to take over the reins of Real Salt Lake midway through the 2007 season, he has progressed from being a player devoid of coaching experience to the man at the helm of the current MLS Champion – a remarkable feat for the 37-year-old.
Kreis is realistic about the long road ahead if he wants to accomplish his dream of one day coaching the USMNT.
“I think it’s going to take another quite a bit of time for me to show that I can lead -- my teams have always been .500, although they did win the MLS Cup last year -- but for me there are a lot of things that need to happen and it’s just going to take time,” he said.
When asked about the current status of the national team, Kreis was fairly positive – “I think we’re headed in absolutely the right direction,” he said – and was fairly reluctant to point out any areas that he feels need improvement.
“I wouldn’t want some coach voicing their opinions in the press about my team," he explaned. "It’s easy to sit in your chair and criticize."
However, there was one aspect of the national team about which Kreis does feel passionately.
“I think more of the players at some point should be represented by MLS teams,” he mentioned, referring to the trend of European team-based players forming the majority of the roster, even if they play a reserve role abroad. “I think as we move forward, more importance should be given to the players that play week-in and week-out.”
The Duke University alum and former Dallas Burn player had a few shots with the US team during his playing days, managing just one goal in 14 caps and never participating in a World Cup.
But although he never managed to find the kind of success that he enjoyed throughout the rest of his career, perhaps this latest aspiration will turn out differently. One thing is for sure, nobody will put more effort into attaining his goal than Kreis.
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