Jason Kreis has been Real Salt Lake's head coach since May 2007. (AP)
Jason Kreis will become the first head coach of the MLS expansion team New York City FC after declining to extend his contract with MLS Cup runners-up Real Salt Lake.
Real Salt Lake and New York City FC made near-simultaneous announcements of the news on Tuesday night.
STRAUS: Kreis faces tough decision in leaving RSL
Kreis leaves RSL having led them to years of consistent success after taking the head coach's job midway through the 2007 season. RSL built a 111-87- 69 record in all competitions, including a 90-71-58 in the MLS regular season. Salt Lake made the playoffs in each of Kreis' six full season in charge, the longest such active streak in the league. RSL won the 2009 MLS Cup and was a finalist in the 2013 edition, where they fell to Sporting Kansas City on penalty kicks.
SI.com's Brian Straus first reported the possibility of Kreis' departure in September, and tweeted information from a source saying the deal was nearly done at the start of December.
ABNOS: Kreis reflects on team, season after MLS Cup loss
Though New York City FC will not begin play until 2015, the club's parent club Manchester City will be keeping Kreis busy in the interim.
The role, which formally begins in January 2014, will see Kreis first travel to England to spend time at English Premier League associate club Manchester City FC. There, he will work closely with Head Coach Manuel Pellegrini, World Cup winner Patrick Vieira and Txiki Bergiristain, the club’s Director of Football, Champions League winner, and former Director of Football at FC Barcelona.
During this time, Kreis will be immersed in all aspects of Manchester City FC, observing in particular, the club’s approach to coaching, training, and player development, with the goal of applying similar approaches to New York City FC.
Before joining Salt Lake as a coach, Kreis was the MLS club's first-ever player and enjoyed a glittering playing career at the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) beforehand. He was Major League Soccer's MVP in the 1999 season and was the first to score 100 goals in the league.
On the official Real Salt Lake Twitter feed, owner Dell Loy Hansen bid farewell to his team's most successful coach: