DURHAM, N.C.—Former Duke men’s soccer and Major League Soccer star Jason Kreis has been appointed the new head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.
The former Duke 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.
“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.”
A three-time All-American, including two first-team selections, Kreis was a top scorer for the Blue Devils over the course of his four seasons in Durham. He remains second in the Duke records book in single-season points with 44 and is fifth on the career points list with 116. A top playmaker for the Blue Devils, Kreis finished his career with 38 assists to rank third in Duke history, while his 16 in 1994 are second on the single-season list. He helped Duke to a 55-25 record over his four seasons and an appearance in the 1994 College Cup.
Kreis signed a contract with the Dallas Burn in 1995 as MLS prepared for its inaugural season. He was named the league MVP in 1999 and became the all-time leading goal scorer in MLS history in 2004 with his 89th career tally. He finished his MLS career with 108 goals and currently ranks sixth in league history.
Following retirement, Kreis moved into the coaching ranks as he took the reins of Real Salt Lake in 2007. At the time of his hire, Kreis was the youngest active head coach in MLS. In just his third season, the former Duke star led the club to its first MLS Cup championship in a penalty shootout victory. He is the youngest coach in MLS history to win the MLS Cup. He also has coached New York City FC and Orlando City SC.
“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.