November 17, 2004 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Real Salt Lake
SALT LAKE CITY, UT (Wednesday, November 17, 2004) Â– Real Salt Lake, Major League SoccerÂ’s 12th team, today introduced Major League SoccerÂ’s All-Time Leading Goal Scorer, Jason Kreis, as the expansion teamÂ’s iconic first player. Kreis, a nine-year MLS veteran, was acquired from FC Dallas in exchange for future considerations.
Â“Real Salt Lake is ecstatic to build our franchise around a player of JasonÂ’s caliber, both on and off the field,Â” said RSL General Manager Steve Pastorino, who noted that the future considerations traded to FC Dallas do NOT include picks in the upcoming January 2005 MLS SuperDraft. Â“This week we move from being a logo and a name to finally becoming a team, and I canÂ’t think of a better catalyst in that transition than Jason Kreis, the all-time MLS leading goal scorer, the 1999 MLS Most Valuable Player and the quintessential family and community athlete.Â”
The 31-year-old Kreis will now have the opportunity to continue rewriting the League record books in Salt Lake City, as the Omaha, Neb. native leads MLS all-time in goals (91) and game-winning goals (28), and ranks among the top 5 MLS career leaders in games (247), starts (227), minutes (20,290), points (247), shots (686) and shots on goal (313).
Â“My family and I are very grateful for the opportunity to continue my career in the beautiful state of Utah and help Real Salt Lake fulfill its vision of becoming a world-class organization on and off the field,Â” said Kreis, who in 1999 became the first American-born player in MLS history to earn MVP honors. Â“The confidence that Head Coach John Ellinger has in me and the organizationÂ’s desire to make me Real Salt LakeÂ’s inaugural player is inspiring. IÂ’m now focused on connecting with the diverse soccer fans of Utah, teaching younger players what it takes to be a successful professional in this league, and helping RSL win MLS Cup 2005.Â”
On June 26 of this year, Kreis scored his 89th career goal during the first half of a 1-1 draw with D.C. United to surpass Roy Lassiter and become the Â“King of GoalsÂ” in Major League Soccer. Kreis, a three-time All-American college player at Duke University, found the back of the net twice more in limited duty for Dallas to finish the 2004 MLS season with 91 career goals.
Â“I will depend heavily on Jason to help me build the character and spirit of this team,Â” said Real Salt Lake Head Coach John Ellinger, who will pick the next 10 RSL players during FridayÂ’s Expansion Draft. Â“His experience, his professionalism and obviously his ability to put the ball in the back of the net will be keys to our performance and to our personality as we build this world-class organization.Â”
Earlier this week, Real Salt Lake was awarded the #1 overall pick in the January MLS SuperDraft following the result of a coin toss preceding SundayÂ’s MLS Cup 2004 contest at The Home Depot Center. CD Chivas USA president Antonio Cue and Real Salt Lake Owner/Chairman David W. Checketts participated in the coin toss, which Chivas won and consequently chose the first selection in Friday's MLS Expansion Draft.
"Real Salt Lake is pleased to gain the No. 1 overall pick in the January MLS SuperDraft,Â” said Checketts. Â“We know the depth of the talent pool in this country will allow us to pick a top young player -- hopefully the caliber the recent of No. 1 picks like MLS Cup 2004 MVP Alecko Eskandarian or rookie sensation Freddy Adu."
Major League SoccerÂ’s 2004 Expansion Draft will be carried LIVE on ESPNews at 2:00 p.m. MT and is expected to last between 60-90 minutes. Real Salt Lake season-ticket holders and fans are invited to join the team for this historic event at the SkyBox Sports Grille and Arena at The Gateway and are encouraged to reserve seating by e-mailing RSVP@RealSaltLake.com . At the event, fans will have the opportunity to meet Jason Kreis, reserve season tickets, buy merchandise, witness the historic draft-day events and interact with Real Salt Lake management.
The rules of the Expansion Draft state that each team may protect 12 senior roster players. Further, only one senior international can be left unprotected. Each of the 10 existing MLS teams may lose a maximum of three players, and may also protect one additional player for each man taken by either Real Salt Lake or CD Chivas USA. The complete list of available players for FridayÂ’s Expansion Draft was announced on the LeagueÂ’s Official Web Site, www.MLSnet.com, earlier today.
Preparations continue for the inaugural season of Real Salt Lake, kicking off in April, 2005. More information on the club can be found on the teamÂ’s official website at www.RealSaltLake.com or by calling 1-877-MLS-UTAH.