Real Salt Lake announced on Tuesday night that longtime Head Coach Jason Kreis will not return to the club next season, leaving to take over New York City FC, which will enter MLS as an expansion club in 2015.
Media spoke to several RSL players at the Claret-and-Cobalt’s final availability of the season on Monday night, asking Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert what it’d be like if Kreis did indeed leave RSL.
All three gave really solid perspective on the situation, offering Kreis well-wishes while emphasizing that the team isn’t going anywhere. With or without Kreis, RSL still has a ton of talent and the team expects to contend for championships again in 2014.
Check out video of their answers above, and a transcript of their quotes below.
To borrow a phrase from Kries, Onwards and Upwards, #RSLFamily.
Captain Kyle Beckerman:
“He’s put in a foundation that we stand for next year and the year after that. It’s just the evolution of that. He’s part of the fabric of this club no matter where he is. I think we’ll continue where he left off, we’ll keep building and keep improving. That’s all we can do. We wish him the best, and really we want to just continue where we left off this year.”
Defender Tony Beltran
“It’s the end of an era of Jason building this club into something grand. It started with Mr. Checketts and Jason and [GM Garth Lagerwey] and they’ve done a fantastic job of shaping this into one of the most elite clubs in the league. That continues now with Mr. Hansen and that may continue forward now without Jason. If that happens we wish him all the luck in the world. He’s a fantastic man, a fantastic leader and that’s what happens with great men, they want new challenges and when presented with that opportunity I imagine that he may take it. If that does happen obviously we’ll be sad to see him go, but we’ll have to look at it as a new challenge ourselves. No longer will we have Jason leading us, I’m sure we’ll have another great man leading us, but it’s up to the players to now live up to things and say ‘Not everything’s just because of him, even though Jay may not be here we can still achieve and we can still do something special.’ That’s what he taught us, and that’s what were here to do.”
Defender Chris Wingert
“Out of respect to him and what he’s meant to this club, it’s going to be very different if he leaves. But does that mean that we can’t still win a championship? No, I think we have a great group here. Of course, anytime you lose a piece of the puzzle that’s that important, it’s going to be hard to replace. The new replacement isn’t going to be the same, but it can still be successful and we saw that from losing some guys last year that we didn’t want to lose. Nobody, none of the players or the staff, wanted to lose guys like [Jamison] Olave and Will Johnson and [Fabian] Espindola, guys of this caliber that meant so much to the organization. But, as you could see, we’re still capable of having a good team. We don’t want Jason to leave, but if he does we’ll be rooting for him elsewhere and happy for him that he’s making the best decision for him and his family.”