Jason Kreis is finally opening up about his time at New York City FC, and he isn’t going easy on his former bosses.
During an interview on ESPN’s "Over the Ball" podcast, Kreis was asked about how things ended at NYCFC, where he only lasted one season after being let go by the club for failing to make the playoffs in its expansion season.
Simply put, Kreis was not pleased with how the situation played out.
"I think that the most honest way to say it is that I feel that we were given a job to do and we were allowed to do half of it," Kreis said. "I thought that we had made ourselves extremely clear, that to work with an expansion team, to be starting a team from absolutely nothing — there was no team there before, there was no youth academy, there was no second team, there was no training facility, there's no stadium. There was literally nothing.
"To build a team and facilities, and start an academy, and do all of these things over a one-and-a-half-year time frame, I felt it was completely unfair and downright irrational to remove somebody from that position after one year. I felt that we were on our way to building something that could be successful for a long time, but we weren't afforded the opportunity to finish the job."
That situation has been a focal point since Kreis officially took the Lions' job last week, given that Orlando City also fired its head coach after a year and a half in the league, with a similarly structured ownership group that wants to win now.
There were reports after his firing — and even during, really — that Kreis was also never given the final say over some of the club’s more crucial signings. Instead of getting the younger designated players that Kreis wanted to build his team around, he was given aging midfielders like Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo to expand the NYCFC brand, rather than improve its actual team on the field.
Kreis said he has been assured that Orlando City ownership will grant him more control, but also that he’s not keen on making every decision his and his only, saying that he prefers to work collectively with his staff and ownership on player decisions.
"I believe that the coaching staff is going to have a big role in the decision process for the players coming in," Kreis told the media on Tuesday. "We are going to be doing it very collaboratively. So I want to say very clearly it is not a situation where it is my way or the highway. That’s not how I like to work. I like to work collaboratively with the entire coaching staff, with Phil, with the ownership, with the general manager Niki Budalic as well. So we will make decisions collectively."
Kreis and Orlando City welcome NYCFC to Camping World Stadium on Aug. 28 for the first time since his arrival in what just became an even more intriguing match-up.