REAL SALT LAKE ASSISTANT COACH ROBIN FRASER NAMED HEAD COACH OF CHIVAS USA
Legendary Ex-MLS Defender Helped Guide RSL’s Turnaround during Three-and-a-half Season Tenure in Utah;
RSL-Arizona Academy Director Greg Vanney to Join Fraser on Chivas USA’s Coaching Staff
SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, January 4, 2011) -- Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA today announced that RSL Assistant Coach Robin Fraser has departed the 2009 MLS Cup champions after three-and-a-half seasons on the Utah club’s sideline to take over the head coaching duties at the Southern California side, effective immediately. The recently turned 44-year-old Fraser becomes the sixth coach of Real Salt Lake’s MLS “Class of 2005” brethren as both squads head into their seventh season of MLS play in 2011.
In addition, Real Salt Lake has announced that the director of its RSL-Arizona Academy youth development program, Greg Vanney, has left his position and agreed to join Fraser as a member of the assistant coaching staff at Chivas USA, also effective immediately.
“We cannot thank Robin and Greg enough for their services on behalf of Real Salt Lake,” said RSL President Bill Manning. “It was only a matter of time before Robin was tabbed as a Head Coach in this league, and I believe he will be a good one. Greg did a tremendous job forming the RSL-Arizona Academy program, which should prove to go a long way in shaping the future of our club. Both are true professionals of the highest caliber, and we wish them nothing but success at Chivas USA.”
The Real Salt Lake Technical Staff has already begun its search for Fraser’s replacement on its assistant coaching staff, and hopes to have the position filled by the time this weekend’s adidas MLS Player Combine begins in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Soon after Real Salt Lake takes part in the MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore next Thursday, January 13, the Claret-and-Cobalt will gather in Utah before beginning its first preseason camp at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz., during the final week of January.
“Robin has been a big part of our success both on and off the field,” said RSL Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Garth Lagerwey. “From scouting to video preparation to mentoring young players, he has prepared himself well to succeed in his new task. We wish he and Greg both good luck and great success.”
Fraser joined Real Salt Lake’s assistant coaching staff in June 2007, less than four months after new head coach Jason Kreis took control of the squad. As part of the first Technical Staff in Major League Soccer history composed entirely of ex-MLS players, Fraser would go on to help guide the 2009 RSL squad to a second consecutive postseason berth, a magical run that ended with the team collecting its first domestic title via a penalty kick win over the L.A. Galaxy in MLS Cup 2009.
“We are all extremely pleased for Robin to get this fantastic opportunity and know that he will certainly enjoy great success as a head coach in Major League Soccer,” said Kreis. “Robin was an extremely important member of our coaching staff, integral to all of our successes to date. He will be sorely missed, and I want to thank him deeply for what he meant to me, this team, and this club”
The two-time MLS Defender of the Year recipient (1999 & 2004) and five-time MLS Best XI and MLS All-Star honoree (1996, 1998-2000 & 2004) helped to foster Real Salt Lake’s renewed commitment to team defense, culminating in last season’s squad smashing the MLS single-season record for goals allowed after conceding just 20 goals across 30 games. During his three-and-a-half seasons with RSL, the squad collected a .527 winning percentage (49-42-37) across regular season and Cup competitions (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League) and averaged just 1.11 goals allowed per game in 108 regular season contests, a stark contrast from the 1.75 GAA collected in the 76 games prior to his arrival.
The search for Vanney’s replacement at the RSL-AZ Academy will prove vital, as players at the ground-breaking residential academy will see increased chances to perform with the RSL first-team during its preseason camps in January and February and as call-up players upon the return of the MLS Reserve Division in 2011. The RSL-AZ Academy is currently in its first year of competition in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, fielding teams at both the U15/16 and U17/18 levels in its SoCal Division. The RSL-AZ Academy U16 and U18 teams combined to go an undefeated 3-0-3 in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase in Phoenix during their first appearances in the event in early December.
Real Salt Lake will shake the rust off from its abbreviated offseason during four weeks of preseason preparation before getting back to competition on Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Leg One of its CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series against the Columbus Crew in central Ohio (6:00 p.m. MT kickoff, live on Fox Soccer Channel). RSL will then return to Rio Tinto Stadium a week later on Tuesday, March 1, for the second and decisive leg against the Crew, with kickoff in Sandy set for 8:00 p.m. MT.