This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SANDY — The Real Salt Lake front office introduced its newest head coach, Jeff Cassar, today to a room full of media, and family and friends of the organization, and officially handed the reins over to its new leader.
They are reins that Cassar says he’s ready to take.
“I had to jump at this opportunity because of these men behind me, the men in the locker room, and you people here — the fans, the media — you are what is driving this team and I want to lead our team out there to represent this state and this club as best as I possibly can,” Cassar said.
“I’m going to take charge, I’m going to have an unbelievable group of men behind me and we are going to push on and not just keep pushing, but do even better. I believe in these guys, I believe in the core group of players that we have, the leadership, the character — it’s unbelievable. I believe in the young talent that we have on our team — the future is very bright for RSL.”
Cassar moves from being in charge of the RSL reserve squad and the young talent to the head of the veteran squad and calls it an opportunity he wanted to go after and couldn’t pass up.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Cassar said. “I don’t think it’s quite set in for me just yet, but every time I think about it I really start to cry because there are so few opportunities in life.”
Those in the Salt Lake club front office made it clear during the press conference that they along with the locker room and the entire organization could not agree more that Cassar was the right man to step into the shoes former head coach Jason Kreis left behind.
“Real Salt Lake has risen to be a power and style that is admired and successful throughout Major League Soccer,” said RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen. “To compete now requires a committed leader and coach who knows our unique RSL system and has the absolute respect of a talented team to execute it.”
Cassar’s success with the reserve squad and young talent of the Salt Lake club is something that attracted Hansen, RSL President Bill Manning and general manager Garth Lagerwey to Cassar over other candidates for the vacant head coach position.
“He has proven also that he can coach a young talented group of players and get results,” said Hansen. “More important, he’s fully converted to a motto that we believe in — the Team Is the Star. RSL’s success, in no small part, revolves around a committed locker room where the team works together — they are all stars, there is no one all-star, they are all stars — and Jeff knows how to lead a team with that expectation.”
Manning, a longtime friend of Cassar, says the transition from Kreis to Cassar is seamless, giving the excellent relationship the new head coach already has intact with Lagerwey.
“We’re not starting again, we’re not starting over, we’re not building a new relationship, and having the talent that we have with Garth as general manager in sync with our new head coach, to me, is critical to the organization.” Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.