In his prized unveiling, Jason Kreis nearly sat down in the wrong chair. In the introductory press conference as the first-ever coach of MLS expansion club New York City FC, the former Real Salt Lake coach got an early laugh from the media horde.
When he finally found his seat, between Spanish legend and Manchester City football director Txiki Begiristain and Man City CEO Ferran Soriano, Kreis grabbed his name placard. Then he quipped, “My name’s spelled right.”
After seven seasons with RSL, six of which the club qualified for the postseason, Kreis donned a sky-blue tie, signifying the concrete end of what he helped build in Utah. Four major cup finals, an MLS Cup trophy and the foundation to sustain success.
At the 27-minute mark of his press conference, Kreis addresses the media following applause. His first words as head coach of NYCFC was about words.
“When I was still playing, I did quite a few funny things before matches,” he said. “But one of the funny things I started to do toward the end of my career was visualize words before games. And the word that sticks out in my mind, that I started to do over and over and over and over again was ‘opportunity.’”
Kreis spoke about opportunity of ensuring his final years in MLS were worthwhile, but transitions to the meeting in Manchester in September with the Manchester City brass.
“The choice to come here at some point became not just a no-brainer, but an opportunity I could not let slip away,” he said.
In his statement, Kreis thanked the supporters and cohorts at RSL during his years, he thanked his family and former RSL owner Dave Checketts, who was on hand to see his former player and hire introduced as NYCFC coach Friday morning.
“The opportunity is in front of us,” Kreis said, “and we fully intend to reach out and take it.”
In his seven years at the helm of RSL, Kreis went 111-87-69 across all competitions, including 7-6-6 in the MLS Cup playoffs. He led the team to five-straight 50-point seasons and six-consecutive playoff berths, more than any other club in MLS history.
But coaching a sports franchise in New York City is a different beast.
The first question to Kreis in his introductory presser was in jest, “Why haven’t you won any games yet?”
Kreis said he knows the pressure is on.
“It’s not something I’ve shied away from, it’s not something that I’m nervous about — it is what it is,” he said. “And to be frank with you, anybody that knows me — I’m sure my parents could attest to this — knows that I put more pressure on myself than anybody could hope to.”
The video, which is about a 45-minute press conference, is attached atop with comments from Kreis, Soriano, Begiristain and NYCFC technical director Claudio Reyna.
Interesting comments from a similar Kreis we worked with, but also with some added flair. He’ll need it. After all, he’s a New Yorker now.