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'Tireless' Ellinger setting sails

Resignation in, now ready for 'engaging opportunities'

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 8 2007 12:56 a.m. MDT

A spokesman for the Major League Soccer team declined to say whether John Ellinger was being fired or assigned to another job.

Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press

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A little more than three months after being fired as Real Salt Lake's head coach, John Ellinger is officially leaving the team later this month.

Ellinger, who remained with the team as RSL's technical director after his firing on May 2, offered his resignation Tuesday, even though he'll remain with the club through RSL's next home game on Aug. 18.

"For me, I'm going to surface again in the soccer world somewhere. For me it's just finding the best opportunity for me and my family," said Ellinger. "I have to walk away from this to take the next step."

Asked where he might surface, RSL's first coach said there are opportunities out there, but he's not at liberty to discuss them. He may be discussing them publicly soon considering that his South Mountain home is already for sale.

Ellinger was hired in October 2004 by the MLS expansion team. During his tenure of a little over two seasons, he amassed a 15-37-16 record, far below RSL owner Dave Checketts' expectations. After an 0-4-1 start this year, Ellinger was relieved of his coaching duties.

"Real Salt Lake will be eternally grateful for all that John Ellinger has given this organization since our inception," said Checketts. "John was tireless in his pioneering efforts as our first head coach and more recently as our technical director, enlightening players, fans, media and the community-at-large with his expertise, and in building and developing the fantastic soccer culture in Utah. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."

In addition to his technical director duties as of late, he's been instrumental in developing RSL's youth academy in conjunction with Real Madrid.

"I appreciate the opportunities that my nearly three years at Real Salt Lake has brought me and my family," said Ellinger. "The memories of our inaugural home game, the Real Madrid contest last year, and this year's preseason trip to Spain stand out. Unfortunately, I need to excuse myself from my duties with RSL in order to pursue other engaging opportunities elsewhere within the sport."

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