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RSL's head coach Jason Kreis writes an open letter to the fans

RSL Head Coach Jason Kries
RSL Head Coach Jason Kries

It was early in the 2009 season when Jason wrote what has become in my mind the cornerstone of the new RSL mentality in an open letter to the fans (click here to read that letter) he laid his heart on the line and set forth a challenge to RSL fans and as we moved closer and closer to the Cup it was the main points of that letter:

Belief.  Passion.  Desire.  Determination.  Commitment.  Sacrifice. 

Jason used those words to motivate his players and to call fans to action and less than 9 months later RSL was standing on a podium holding the MLS Cup.  

Today Jason wrote another open letter to the fans and it was posted on the official RSL blog, you can read my thoughts on it after the jump

So it was very funny that a casual fan asked me about Jason today and I told him that it is funny that a guy with no job experience has taken his team to the pinnacle of MLS success in under 2 1/2 years and yet many fans still doubt him, some just plain hate him.  He looked at me baffled as he was looking at some of the celebration photos from the MLS Cup celebration, and simply asked "Really?".  

Yet here is our coach writing a letter imploring fans to support the team during the off season, to wear the colors, to renew or buy season tickets, to in a word spread the gospel of RSL (a task I take personally).  You would think fans would clamor at a chance to say thank you but not our fans, nope they want to offer advice and question the effort that went into winning the MLS Cup.  They urge him to take a semi-stupid tournament like the CONCACAF Champions League serious, have they ever seen him not take a match that matters serious?  Heck can any fan say in 2 1/2 years that they have ever seen Jason not take something serious?  Really, it simply amazes me but you would think I would expect it by now.  

It is a simple letter, with a simple request to continue supporting the team.  Put as much effort into getting your friends to purchase tickets for 2010 as you are willing to put into getting a Championship scarf.   Determine if you can in this hard economy find a way to renew your season tickets, it is tough and I have put renewing some of mine on hold for a number of reasons, but I have decided I will renew all 5.  Not bad for someone who doesn't spend time in the stands, remember that long before RSL won the Cup they dropped season ticket prices and added more matches.  Now for as low as $275 you can get 20 tickets to RSL matches, I don't know the details of the 5 extra but there is a high likelihood that they will be able to be used come August and September for CCL matches, or in July for US Open Cup matches.  Does all this mean RSL won't be looking for a big International friendly?  Not likely and how much easier is it to get a big name to face the Champions than a team that didn't win the Cup?

Jason has simply stated one simple point since winning the cup, " It is our time" .  I ask those who have been doubters and haters for the last several years to get over it, get over themselves and to simply look at the reality of the situation.  In MLS it comes down to making the playoffs and while nobody, including Jason, Garth, or Bill was happy with the regular season results, we made the playoffs.  Once we made the playoffs we were unbeatable, we didn't just compete, we won every single playoff match 4-0-0 to win the MLS Cup in convincing fashion.  We won 3 straight matches away from Rio Tinto Stadium, we beat the best defending Champions and Supporter Shield winner, we beat Blanco and the Fire and we dealt with Beckham and Donovan, all while pundits and cynics both around the league and in Salt Lake doubted and questioned.  I simply offer this again, get over it.  

The only thing I think we need to accomplish in CCL or US Open Cup, is to stay healthy and play competitive matches, if we have a 24 man roster like this year then we have to set a priority.  DC United failed to do that and for their efforts they ended up empty handed without making it to the knock out round of the CCL, they dropped the final match of the USOC and they failed to qualify for the playoffs.  With just 24 players it is hard enough to play a regular schedule, but DC United had to play 24 matches in 3 months including travel around Central America.  Houston played 20 matches in 3 months again with a ton of travel involved and it impacted their MLS season as they won only 2 of their final 5 matches and struggled in the playoffs eventually bowing out at the hands of LA.

I think if the CBA move the roster back up to 28 players then it is easier to take the other tournaments more seriously but I think the first priority of a MLS team is to make the MLS Playoffs and to win the MLS Cup, all the other things are nice, and I hope we bring the same levels of: 

Belief.  Passion.  Desire.  Determination.  Commitment.  Sacrifice. 

that we saw during the last 8 matches RSL played in this year 6-1-1 to both the CCL and the Open Cup but I am going to do something that so many RSL fans seem incapable of doing.  I am going to trust Jason Kreis.  I am going to say this now, we should count ourselves lucky that we have a coach as dedicated and passionate about what he does as Jason, and before too long you will see that others will come looking for his services.  He is as driven about becoming a great coach as he was at being a great player, and I for one am going to continue to support him in any way that I can.