Jason Kreis Named Head Coach of U-23 MNT

Veteran MLS Coach, Former MLS and U.S. MNT Player Aims to Lead U-23 MNT to Qualification for the 2020 Summer Olympics
By: U.S. Soccer
U-23 MNT head coach Jason Kreis
U-23 MNT head coach Jason Kreis

CHICAGO (March 19, 2019) — U.S. Soccer has appointed Jason Kreis as the new head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team.

The former standout forward enjoyed a stellar 11-year playing career in Major League Soccer and has served as a head coach in the league for 10 years. Kreis recently joined the technical department of MLS expansion side Inter Miami CF and will continue in that role in addition to his duties with the U-23 MNT.

The 46-year-old is in the MLS record books for his accomplishments both on and off the field. He became the youngest coach in league history to win the MLS Cup when he led Real Salt Lake to the 2009 title and he guided RSL to the best-ever finish for an American club in the Concacaf Champions League in 2011. Currently No. 7 on the MLS all-time scoring list, he was the first player in league history to record 100 goals.

“Jason’s qualities and experience made him stand out as the best candidate to lead our U-23 Men’s National Team in this important cycle towards the 2020 Olympics,” said Earnie Stewart, Men’s National Team general manager. “The U-23s are a significant part of our program, and Jason is an experienced head coach with significant success both in league and Concacaf competitions. His knowledge of the player pool is impressive, and we are confident in his ability to implement the style of play we are building with the senior MNT and throughout our national teams. We appreciate the willingness of Inter Miami CF to allow us the opportunity to take advantage of Jason’s abilities to guide this group.”

Upon his retirement as a player from Real Salt Lake, Kreis immediately took the reigns as head coach at the club. He led RSL to unmatched success during his tenure, leading the team to its only MLS Cup title and a runner-up MLS Cup finish throughout six consecutive playoff appearances from 2008-13.

At the continental level, Kreis coached the Claret and Cobalt to the 2011 Concacaf Champions League Finals, the best performance by a U.S.-based club in the competition’s history. After his time in Salt Lake City, he led New York City FC in its inaugural MLS season and served as Orlando City SC’s second head coach. Kreis holds a U.S. Soccer Pro License.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Kreis said. “It’s an opportunity to be a part of a new system under the leadership of Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart leading the National Team the way that they are. It’s an opportunity to work with the country’s brightest young stars, and it’s an opportunity to represent your country. In my opinion, that’s the highest honor of all.”

Kreis will lead the U-23 MNT at its training camp this week in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain. The U-23s are slated to take on Egypt on March 22 and the Netherlands on March 24. The camp marks the beginning of a long journey to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with Kreis aiming to guide the USA to qualification for its first Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since 2008.

As a player, the Nebraska native featured collegiately for Duke University and spent a season in the USISL, a forerunner of the USL, before MLS was founded in 1996. Kreis was selected in the inaugural MLS Draft by the Dallas Burn and scored the club’s first-ever goal. The forward was named league MVP in 1999, becoming the first American to win the award. Kreis became the league’s all-time leading scorer in 2004, a mark that stood for more than three years. One of the most decorated players in Dallas’ history, Kreis is still the club’s all-time leader in games, goals and assists.

After the 2004 season, Kreis was traded to expansion outfit Real Salt Lake. He scored the club’s first goal during its inaugural 2005 season, becoming the first MLS player to score two different teams’ first goals.

Kreis made 14 appearances with the U.S. MNT from 1996-2000, netting his lone international goal in a 1999 friendly against Jamaica. He also served as a guest assistant coach in the MNT’s 2016 January Camp.  

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