One of the goals for Real Salt Lake in 2013 is to build some healthy competition among the squad this season. That’s a tenet that the club was originally built upon back in 2007/2008. However, with some of the success that the club has had in recent years a number of players became fairly comfortable of their starting roles.
“In particular last year, I felt that there were certain positions on the field, not every position, but there were certain positions on the field where the players felt like I can pretty much float through this week of training because I know I’m going to start. And that will not be the case this year.”
So now the club is taking a bit of a back-to-the-basics approach.
“It’s going to be about re-establishing who we are at Real Salt Lake, what it means to be part of our club, what it means every single day in training, what you have to bring. And then we’re going to have to make sure that on top of that we’ve got some guys who are really ready that haven’t been in the past.
That includes rebuilding a squad by relying on some of the younger talent on the squad. That’s something that the team hasn’t had to worry about to any significant degree over the last four seasons.
“If you look at our roster, we’re going to rely on guys like (Sebastian) Velasquez, and (Enzo) Martinez, and (Carlos) Salcedo, and (Lalo) Fernandez – we’re going to rely on a lot of those young players – (Kwame) Watson-Siriboe, (Aaron) Maund. We’re going to rely on those guys to contribute this year. We’re going to need them to step forward and make big contributions to our team if we’re going to have any kind of success.”
That rebuilding requires more from the coaching staff, in addition to more from the players. And Kreis feels like his staff is up to the challenge.
“We’re excited about coaching our system again, whereas the last couple of years there hasn’t been a lot of coaching our system to players – it’s kind of like refreshers for everyone. So we see this as a tremendous challenge. We see having new players and young players in our system as a challenge. Can we do it all over again?”
And when you factor everything in – the infusion of young talent, the back-to-the-basics approach, and the increased competition across the squad – Kreis feels like that could be a combination that could finally lead the team to achieving their goals, after three tantalizing seasons of championship drought.
“What we have this year when all is said and done – and it’s not all said and done yet,” said Kreis, “but what we believe if the plan comes to fruition is that we will have meaningful, and I mean meaningful and serious competition in every position on the field, and that is what I believe led us to a championship in 2009.”