Jason Kreis returned this week from a trip to Germany that was admittedly all about improving himself.
The Real Salt Lake head coach spent time observing the training regimens at three Bundesliga clubs on a trip helped along by introductions from US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“This opportunity came about and I just asked Jurgen if he might be able to put it together, and he came through big-time for me,” Kreis told ESPN700 Sports radio in Salt Lake City. “He put the whole trip together at three different clubs and had contacts at all three clubs, and was able to speak to people. So it was fantastic, and I’m just thankful to him for doing that.”
Kreis visited TSG Hoffenheim, FC Nürnburg and VfB Stuttgart. He also took in an Eintracht Frankfurt match.
“I just spent a week there watching some first-division clubs do some training, trying to pick up on some stuff, trying to learn, trying to improve myself,” he told ESPN700.
Kreis indicated that he’s been interested in such a trip for some time, but hasn’t been able to pull it off in prior years.
“Last year, we tried to go to England,” he said. “Both to Chelsea and Arsenal. ... [RSL founder and chairman Dave Checketts] has some great contacts with the chairman of Chelsea, and in Arsenal we have some great contacts with Ivan Gazidis, the former deputy commissioner of MLS. Neither of those places was able to get me in to watch training sessions. Apparently it’s top-secret stuff in England right now.”
The opportunity to leverage contacts with Klinsmann came up as a result of coordinating RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman’s recent training stint at FC Kaiserslautern, which was also arranged by the US boss.
The trip turned out to be a positive one for Kreis, mostly offering an affirmation that what he’s been doing has been on the right track.
“You go there and watch some of the teams with unbelievable amounts of money, and unbelievable coaches that have incredible amounts of experience and you see that they are doing basically the same things that we’ve been doing here for several years,” Kreis said. “It really kind of put my mind at ease a little bit … we’re on the right track.”