To say Jason Kreis has been busy as of late would probably be an understatement.
Kreis has spent the last few weeks preparing not only one, but two teams for the start of their respective competitions. The 47-year-old head coach has been juggling work with both Inter Miami’s reserve side Fort Lauderdale CF and the Under-23 U.S. Men’s National Team, preparing the former for the beginning of the new USL League One season and the latter for the Concacaf Olympic qualifying campaign that begins in Mexico later this month.
“It’s been a challenge. I think it’s been an awesome challenge for me,” said Kreis on Monday afternoon. “Truth of the matter is that through March of last year until really February of this year, it was an okay situation. I didn’t really have a 100 percent active role with Inter Miami where I felt like if I left it there would have to be somebody that would cover my position.
“That all changed in February. February 15 we started the preseason for Fort Lauderdale CF, and so then was the first time that I actually had an active role that needed to be covered when I left. That’s when it became probably the most challenging and the juggling through all of that was most difficult.”
As difficult as it has been, Kreis has helped ready both his Fort Lauderdale CF and U-23 USMNT players for what is to come. He not only spent a bit of time with the USL team during the start of its preseason camp, but traveled in recent weeks as well to visit with Americans that could play a role in the youth national team.
Most recently, Kreis named a 20-man American squad over the weekend that will try to successfully reach the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The U-23 USMNT program has not participated in that competition since 2008, failing to reach the last two editions.
Kreis is more than grateful towards his club, his full-time employer, over being given the opportunity to end that dry run for his country.
“A big thank you to Inter Miami for allowing me to do both roles,” said Kreis. “For allowing me the flexibility to leave and take care of this Under-23 group when I needed to.”
Given that Olympic qualifying runs from March 20 through April 1, Kreis will likely miss Fort Lauderdale CF’s season opener vs. Union Omaha on March 27. It should be the only match that he is absent for this spring, as he turns much of his immediate focus on trying to help the young Americans get to Tokyo.
“We think we’re in a good spot,” said Kreis. “We think we’re prepared. We think we’re ready to roll.”