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SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake today announced that former MLS defender Robin Fraser will join the Utah side's assistant coaching staff, effective immediately. The move to the Real Salt Lake sideline means that Fraser will leave his duties as the head coach of the RSL-Arizona program's Under-17 squad, which will begin play in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Super Y-League next month, in addition to his position as a color commentator for select Real Salt Lake television broadcasts.
"I'm very excited about this new role with Real Salt Lake. There were a number of factors that went into this decision, and after looking at the direction the club is heading, seeing the amount of respect Real Salt Lake has around the League, and talking with an owner as dedicated and committed as Dave Checketts, I felt this was a move that was too good to pass up," said Fraser. "It was a difficult decision only because of what I was leaving in Arizona, with our family taking root there and being a part of a lot of projects I had my hands on. But I love the direction MLS and Real Salt Lake are going and the commitment level behind both, and the opportunity to coach alongside Jason Kreis made this an easy decision to make."
Despite being just 40 years of age, Fraser became the elder member of the RSL coaching staff upon his arrival at today's practice, as he joins fellow assistant coaches Jeff Cassar (33) and Brian Johnson (33) and works under the direction of head coach Jason Kreis (34).
"We are very fortunate to add someone with the experience and knowledge that Robin Fraser possesses to our coaching staff," said Kreis. "Robin's familiarity of not only our current squad, but of the entire League, will be a great benefit for the club as we continue to strive for our goals not only this season, but beyond."
Fraser ended his 10-year career in Major League Soccer in 2005 as one of the most respected defenders during the League's first decade of play. Known for his professionalism and durability, Fraser appeared in at least 20 games during all 10 of his seasons spent with the Los Angeles Galaxy (1996-2000), Colorado Rapids (2001-2003), and Columbus Crew (2004-05), and still remains in sixth place on the League's career charts in games played (260) and games started (256). Fraser earned numerous individual accolades, including a pair of MLS Defender of the Year awards in 1999 and 2004 and five nods to both the MLS Best XI and MLS All-Star teams (1996, 1998-2000 & 2004).
"We are very pleased that Robin has joined the MLS coaching ranks as a member of Real Salt Lake," said Real Salt Lake Technical Director/Director of Soccer Operations John Ellinger. "Our club has had a great relationship with Robin in various capacities for the last two seasons, and we believe Robin is very deserving of this opportunity and position with our staff. Robin's respect for the sport and our League and his tremendous professionalism are attributes that every player on our roster can take to heart, and we look forward to those qualities rubbing off on our squad for years to come."
Despite being born and raised in his native Jamaica, Fraser would represent the United States at the senior international after becoming a U.S. citizen in 1986. Fraser would don the Red, White & Blue 27 times for the USA during his international career, which spanned from 1988-2001 and included a World Cup qualifying "cap" in a 1-1 draw at Guatemala on July 16, 2000.
Prior to his MLS career, Fraser spent six seasons with the American Pro Soccer League's (APSL) Colorado Foxes from 2000-2005, earning APSL All-Star honors in each of his last four seasons. Fraser played collegiately at Florida International University, helping the Golden Panthers to the Division II national championship in his freshman year in 1984 before earning back-to-back Division I All-American honors in 1987 and 1988 and being named a Hermann Trophy finalist in 1988.
While new to the MLS sidelines, Fraser is not without coaching experience, having acquired his USSF "A" coaching license following his MLS playing days. Fraser moved with his family to the Phoenix area to take the Director of Coaching position at the Arizona Futbol Club in 2005 and earlier this year assumed the head coaching position for the RSL Arizona U-17s, helping to get the fledging program off the ground after its formation in April.