Columbus Crew SC had somewhat of an unexpected visitor at its Tuesday training session as former Major League Soccer player and coach Jason Kreis was in Obetz at the team’s training center following the activity managed by head coach Gregg Berhalter.
According to Berhalter, Kreis, who is out of a job since he was fired by Orlando City in June, was hoping to schedule a visit to Columbus for a few months and schedules finally worked out this week.
“We talked about that for a long time, him coming out and seeing our environment and seeing what we do,” Berhalter told the media after the session. “He had some free time, I know he’s been traveling, and he reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and suggested the dates and they worked out.”
The relationship between the two coaches dates back to the 1990s, when they were opponents in college. The two former soccer players went to rival schools that play at stadiums less than 10 miles apart with Berhalter playing for North Carolina and Kreis suiting up for Duke. They were also part of the United State Men’s National Team at the same time.
Kreis played in MLS from the beginning of the league’s existence. He was drafted 43rd overall by the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) in the fifth round of the inaugural MLS Draft. It didn’t take long for Kreis to get going, scoring the first goal in the Dallas franchise’s history.
In 1999, Kreis scored his 89th league goal, moving him past Roy Lassiter as MLS’s all-time leading scorer, a title he held for three seasons.
Following the 2004 season Kreis was traded to expansion side Real Salt Lake, where he played for three more seasons. He retired as a player on May 3, 2007. Kries finished with 108 career MLS goals, still seventh-best in league history.
After his playing career ended, Kries took up coaching, taking over Salt Lake. He led Real to its first postseason appearance in 2008 and won MLS Cup in 2009. Following the 2013 season, Kreis left to become the first head coach in New York City FC’s history. Kreis didn’t remain with NYCFC long and became the head coach of Orlando City on July 19, 2016. After not living up to expectations, Kreis was fired in June of this year.
Along with Berhalter, Kreis has also a relationship with some of Crew SC’s players as he coached defender Josh Williams during NYCFC’s inaugural MLS campaign in 2015 and midfielder Justin Meram earlier this year, in Orlando.
The Lions, by the way, are expected to become a topic of conversation between the coaches as Kreis’ last team will be Crew SC’s next opponent on Oct. 21.
“We haven’t talked about Orlando, but I’m sure that will come up,” Berhalter said.