Jason Kreis and Jesse Marsch have been around Major League Soccer for a while.
To be specific, both the New York City FC head coach and the head coach of the Red Bulls were players in the league's inaugural season in 1996. Kreis was drafted 43rd overall by the Dallas Burn in the MLS Inaugural Player Draft, while Marsch was selected 21st in the MLS College Draft.
Both went on to have illustrious careers in the league. Kreis, a forward, scored 108 goals in 305 appearances for the Dallas Burn and Real Salt Lake. Marsch, a midfielder, made 321 appearances with 31 goals for D.C. United, Chicago and Chivas USA.
Kreis was named the 1999 MLS MVP and was the league's first 100-goal scorer. Marsch won three MLS Cups.
The two American soccer veterans will stand opposite each other on the sideline Sunday afternoon as New York City FC welcome the Red Bulls to Yankee Stadium for the first time ever. Kickoff is 5 p.m. EDT (ESPN, 970 AM, WQBU).
Kreis discussed what it meant to be involved with the league since its inception nearly 20 years ago at a press conference ahead of this pivotal matchup of two local rivals.
"I think when I allow myself the moment to take a breath and look back at it I think I’m proud," said Kreis, a five-time MLS all-star. "I'm really, really proud to have been a player in 1996. Jesse was a player in 1996 as well and I feel I’ve committed, and I’m sure he feels the same, a great deal of my life, a great deal of my sweat and blood and emotion to this game and to this sport and to this league.
"I couldn’t be happier where the game is now, where the league is now and where I think it’s headed. It’s extremely exciting and I couldn’t be happier to be part of it."
|Jason Kreis||Jesse Marsch|
|MLS clubs||Dallas Burn, Real Salt Lake||D.C. United, Chicago Fire, Chivas USA|
|Retired||May 3, 2007||Feb. 5, 2010|