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Jason Kreis could return to Real Salt Lake as part of club shake-up

The team’s GM and some assistant coaches will soon depart, The Athletic reports.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jason Kreis, former RSL coach, then the head coach of the United States U-23 men's national soccer team, in Herriman at the Real Salt Lake Training Academy on June 12, 2019. The Athletic reports that Kreis could return to RSL in some capacity next season.

Real Salt Lake is in the midst of a sporting shake-up.

Current general manager Elliot Fall will depart the club when his contract expires this winter, with technical director Kurt Schmid elevated to chief soccer officer, sources briefed on the decisions tell The Athletic. Assistant GM Tony Beltran will take on increased responsibilities as well.

Pablo Mastroeni’s coaching staff will also see significant change with top assistants Matt Taylor, Ignacio Hernandez and Brett Jacobs being dismissed, sources say. The club wants to add more experience behind Mastroeni and accentuate his strengths.

Schmid joined the club ahead of the 2021 season and has negotiated deals for new players in addition to work with the club’s scouting and youth development. Before his time at RSL, he was an assistant coach and scout with the Seattle Sounders from their inaugural season in 2009. He was eventually promoted to director of player personnel. He also spent two years as technical director at Inter Miami from 2019-21.

Beltran, a former RSL player from 2008-19, joined the front office immediately after retiring ahead of the 2020 season.

The restructuring was done with the intention of improving the developmental side of the club while remaining competitive in MLS, sources briefed on the decisions say. RSL has long been considered a team focused on building around its academy, with several homegrown signings over the last decade featuring in the first team, including Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo, Donny Toia, Carlos Salcedo, Brooks Lennon, Corey Baird, David Ochoa and Aaron Herrera. RSL currently has 11 homegrown players on its roster for 2024.

Additionally, sources say that RSL is in advanced talks with Jason Kreis, who won an MLS Cup as coach of RSL in 2009, about a role at the club — one that is not on Mastroeni’s coaching staff. Kreis had a 111-87- 69 record across seven seasons in all competitions with RSL and also took RSL to an MLS Cup appearance again in 2013.

The talks come after new Portland Timbers head coach Phil Neville made an effort to bring Kreis to Portland as an assistant. Kreis left RSL to take over NYCFC in the expansion team’s inaugural season. He has since served as head coach of Orlando City, an assistant with Inter Miami and head coach of the U.S. U-23 men’s national team.

Fall originally joined the club in 2007. In 2014 he was named assistant GM before being named GM in 2019. He was 34 years old when elevated to GM, making him the youngest in that role in MLS at the time. RSL has made the playoffs in each of the last three years, including a run to the conference final in 2021 when the club was under absentee ownership while Dell Loy Hansen looked to sell the team.

David Blitzer and Ryan Smith took over majority control ahead of the 2022 season, inheriting Fall and Mastroeni. Ownership twice set a new club-record transfer fee in 2023, first in a deal to sign winger Andres Gomez in the winter, then a $6 million deal to sign forward Chicho Arango.

In 2023, RSL finished fifth in the Western Conference. Their outlook for 2024 is strong around a core of Arango, Diego Luna, Justen Glad, Pablo Ruiz and Brayan Vera.

— This article originally appeared in The Athletic.