New York City FC names Jason Kreis its first coach

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We all suspected it would happen, and all suspected it would happen quite quickly. Sure enough, New York City FC has named Jason Kreis as its very first head coach.

This comes about 72 hours after Kreis’ team, Real Salt Lake, fell to Sporting Kansas City in the 18th MLS Cup final.

So Kreis will work with former U.S. national team standout Claudio Reyna, the club’s director of football operations, putting to use all the resources from its well-heeled Manchester City ownership outfit. In fact, Kreis will soon travel to England to spend time with the Premier League title contenders.

He has plenty of time, as the league’s 20th team will not begin playing until 2015.

From the club’s official release (which actually came out of Edelman, the New York-based PR firm; so, nothing the best for NYCFC, it seems):

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 Begiristain, 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.”

Of course, the other side to this story is a man leaving the club where he built this coaching career, Real Salt Lake. Players and staff had seemed resigned to the fact that the club’s second head coach, and the one who built  a small market team into one that competed perennially with the league’s financial heavy hitters, would soon be moving to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Kreis, now 40, was the youngest manager to win MLS Cup when Real Salt Lake and its relatively star-less ways prevailed over the star-heavy LA Galaxy in the 2009 final.

Overall, RSL made the playoffs six consecutive seasons. And it came some tantalizingly close to becoming the first MLS team to win CONCACAF Champions League, climbing to the 2011 final.

Check back for more at ProSoccerTalk.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.