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Real's Ellinger tabs 3 assistants

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 4 2005 1:51 p.m. MST

Real Salt Lake coach John Ellinger is ready for help.

A full complement of assistant coaches wasn't really necessary for the MLS expansion team the past couple of months, but with training camp slated to begin in February, Ellinger is ready for assistance.

RSL announced Monday the hiring of Peter Mellor as Ellinger's top assistant, Brian Johnson as his second assistant and Chris Agnello as his third assistant.

"Besides being knowledgeable, you want individuals of good quality on and off the field," said Ellinger. "You want guys who have a history of getting along with players in a positive way."

With Johnson and Agnello, Ellinger assumes he's getting what he wants based on interviews. But with Mellor, he knows firsthand the character he's hired.

Ellinger and Mellor have coached together since 1992 in the U.S. youth national team programs

During his tenure with U.S. youth national teams and Olympic teams the past decade and a half, Mellor coached future standout keepers Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller and Tim Howard, among many more.

His task with Salt Lake is to mold D.J. Countess, 22, into the team's goalie of the future. He will also be the head coach of RSL's reserve team.

Johnson played in the midfield for the Kansas City Wizards from 1996 to 2000, starting 34 games. Following his stint in the MLS, he played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the A-League, and he spent this past season as an assistant coach on Ohio State's men's soccer team.

Following Ohio State's run through the NCAA Tournament in November, Ellinger contacted Johnson formally, and offered him the job. In addition to his assistant coaching duties, Johnson will be the lead coach in charge of the Real Salt Lake youth academy.

Agnello, the former Utah Blitzz coach Agnello was a no-brainer for Ellinger.

With the arrival of the MLS in Salt Lake City, the two-time national champion Blitzz decided to fold the franchise. Once that happened, Ellinger contacted Agnello about joining his staff.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com

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