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Has Kreis paved the way?
by Ridge Mahoney, December 1st, 2009 7AM



[MLS] Will the championship won by Jason Kreis, who ended his playing career in 2007 to take the Real Salt Lake head coaching job and won the title in his third season, encourage other MLS teams to try the same approach? If so, who would the candidates be?

One such candidate could be Chivas USA midfielder Jesse Marsch, who according to a source has spoken with representatives of Chicago and Chivas USA regarding their head coaching jobs. Whether he has formally interviewed for either or both positions isn't known, nor is the likelihood he might be considered by U.S. coach Bob Bradley, who coached Marsch as an assistant coach with D.C. United and as head coach of Chicago and Chivas USA.

Bradley has not publicly declared his intent to hire another assistant, but in the past six months he's lost from his staff Peter Nowak and John Hackworth, who have joined the MLS expansion Philadelphia team. Former U.S. international Mike Sorber, goalkeeping coach Zak Abdel, and fitness coach Pierre Barrieu are the holdovers.

Marsch, who just turned 36, played 23 matches this past season while battling injuries. He missed two months of the 2008 season due to a fractured jaw, and has been taking USSF coaching courses in recent years to prepare for a move to coaching though he has not announced a decision to retire and is still pondering the possibilities.

Former Galaxy and Fire midfielder Chris Armas is reportedly on the list of candidates compiled by Chicago as well. Armas retired after the 2007 season and worked as a Fire assistant coach for a year before moving back to his native New York. RSL assistant coach Robin Fraser, like Armas a former U.S. international, is another candidate with an impressive playing pedigree that might entice a team.

According to the source, not being considered by Chicago is former D.C. head coach Tom Soehn, who worked for three years on the Fire coaching staff before serving in the same capacity with United. The Fire, remember, couldn't offer enough compensation to nab Houston assistant John Spencer two years ago, and instead hired former assistant Denis Hamlett, who got the boot last week.

The only coach hired so far is Preki, who reached an agreement with Toronto FC a mere 10 days after being notified by Chivas USA of his departure.

Another source said Preki received a three-year guaranteed contract worth $400,000 annually, which would put him in the upper tier of MLS coaches, behind only Bruce Arena (Galaxy), Sigi Schmid (Seattle), and Dominic Kinnear (Houston), as well as former Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. The majority of MLS teams pay much less for head coaches, in the range of $125,000 to $250,000, according to various sources.

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