When you talk about RSL there is one man that has really seen it all. On November 17, 2004 RSL traded for Jason Kreis making him the first player in RSL history. From player to Head Coach he has been an essential part of the club ever since.
Everything changed for the team when Dave Checketts named him Head Coach. Kreis was the one that came up with "the team is the star" motto. The genesis of the RSL Family really started with him. If there was one person's view on the RSL Family that I wanted to hear, it was his.
I had the opportunity to speak with Coach Kreis after practice on Tuesday. I asked him the same question that I have been asking everybody else up to this point. What does the RSL Family mean to you?
Its a really sentimental thing for me honestly. I have been here since day one. I think it is pretty fair to say there aren't many people involved with this club or fans of this team that have been here longer than me. Its been an amazing ride. It's been an amazing journey to go from the very very lows of the first couple of years. When I tell you low they were really really low. The unhappiness that I was living with after every single match not being able to stop thinking about how bad it was here. To the very very highs of 2009, 2010, 2011. The CONCACAF run. The championship in 2009. It seemed like we never lost in 2010. It's been amazing.
I have made no secret about my personal feeling that I think the fans have been a big big part of this from day one because even when it was it's worst we still had supportive fans cheering us on. It wasn't like some other places where one or two things go wrong and now you have the fans booing you. It has never been that way here and I think it is something that the fans, this community, this family that we call RSL should continue to remind ourselves of. That we are a supportive group, a positive group. We should try to stay away the negativity of outside influences.
It is who we are. We call ourselves a family in the locker room. We call ourselves a family in the stadium. We call ourselves a family in the office. It's just who we are. We believe we gain strength through our togetherness. We gain the ability to compete with the DP's of the world. The all-star teams of Seattle and the Galaxy and New York. We think we have the ability to compete with them because of our togetherness.I find these comments fascinating on so many levels in wake of the recent rumors swirling Coach Kreis. But I think the final paragraph of Kreis' comments were the ones that got to the very heart of the RSL Family. It is real. As Kreis said, it is who we are. As a team, as an organization, as a fan base: We are a family.
I don't know if Kreis is going to stay or if he is going to go. I know from looking at him while he was talking to me that he loves this team. There was no doubt about that in my mind. I wouldn't blame him if he were to leave. It might be something that he is unable to pass up. What I do know is that if he does leave, in my mind he will always be a part of the RSL Family.