Real Salt Lake Star Damir Kreilach Is ‘Perfect’ Teammate

Apr 18, 2019, 3:37 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm
Orlando City defender Kamal Miller (27), right, heads the ball away form Real Salt Lake midfielder ...
Orlando City defender Kamal Miller (27), right, heads the ball away form Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (8) during the RSL versus Orlando City soccer match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake forward Damir Kreilach is not only a great player, but a very self-conscious member of his team and the community.

On The Lion’s Den podcast, RSL’s director of public relations Matt Gaschk shared a few stories about Kreilach with co-host Tom Hackett that illustrate how thoughtful the Croatian international is with fans and media.

After receiving a red card in his team’s loss to FC Dallas earlier this season, Kreilach was “heartbroken” to miss the following game against the Seattle Sounders.

He was so upset that he sent a letter of apology to RSL ticket holders.

“He wants so desperately to help his team win,” said Gaschk of Kreilach. “And to not be able to contribute because of one momentary lapse of judgement. He was devastated about that.”

Even though he was ruled ineligible for the match in Seattle, Kreilach still flew out there on his own dime to support the team. He was not expected to be present and only let team personnel know when he bumped into Gaschk in downtown Seattle.

While his team played to a 1-0 loss at Century Link Field, Kreilach watched the game from the stands with his wife and children.

“He is the perfect type of teammate,” praised Gaschk.

Fast forward to this last week, on his birthday, Kreilach took the whole team out for a night on the town in downtown Salt Lake City to celebrate his birthday. To no one’s surprise, Kreilach footed the bill.

Gaschk continued to share another story about Kreilach, this time about an interaction he had with the media during a match.

Typically, Gaschk will ask one of the players to do a halftime interview with the television broadcast crew as the team leaves the pitch at halftime. During one particular match, he asked Kreilach to do the interview and was politely declined, as the Croatian didn’t feel very comfortable speaking English at that moment.

Gaschk asked another player and no big deal, the interview was done.

Early the next week at training, Kreilach asked Gaschk if he could talk to him for a moment. To Gashck’s surprise, Kreilach proceeded to profusely apologize for not doing the interview. For an athlete to do so is pretty much unheard of, so it was quite the shock to the seasoned PR veteran.

“He’s just that genuine and nice of a person, it’s just refreshing,” said Gaschk.

So far this season, Kreilach is tied for the team lead in goals with two this season. Last season, he led RSL with 12 goals.

Kreilach and RSL will hit the road to face FC Cincinnati on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The game can be streamed live on and the KSL TV app.

The Lion’s Den podcast is done in collaboration with Real Salt Lake and KSL Sports. Episodes can be found in all podcasting platforms.

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