New England Revolution Beginners Guide: All you need to know

Tom Brady is in Tampa Bay leaving the Patriots in disarray and the Boston Red Sox are headed towards yet another disappointing season. With area teams sliding back into the back the New England Revolution are poised to continue their organizational growth. Like winners? Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena has won almost every trophy that can be lifted in American Soccer. Under Arena’s guidance, the Revolution went from a basement-dwelling team halfway thru the 2019 season to be in the Eastern Conference Final in 2020.

Revolution History Lesson

The club has been a part of Major League Soccer (MLS) since day one with owner Robert Kraft being one of the pioneer owners in American Soccer.

New England plays their home matches at Gillette Stadium and in recent years have built out a first-class training center behind the stadium.

Wins-Losses-Ties, Standing, Playoffs (Yes/No)

2020: 8-7-8, 8th place, Yes

2019: 11-11-12, 7th place, Yes

2018: 10-13-11, 8th place, No

2017: 13-15-6 7th place, No

2016: 11-14-9, 7th place, No

2015: 14-12-8, 5th place, Yes

New England has been able to garner top talent over the years and here are the franchise leaders:

Games Played: Sharlie Joseph 261, Matt Reis 254, Chris Tierney 246

Games Started: Sharlie Joseph 254, Matt Reis 253, Jay Heaps 238

Minutes Played: Sharlie Joseph 22,847, Matt Reis 22,699, Jay Heaps 21,619

Goals: Taylor Twellman 101, Lee Nguyen 51, Diego Fagundez 50

Assists: Steve Ralston 73, Lee Nguyen 49, Chris Tierney 40

Penalty Kick Goals: Lee Nguyen 16, Sharlie Joseph 12, Steve Ralston 9

Games Started in Goal: Mat Reis 253, Bobby Shuttleworth 124, Jeff Causey 50

League Award Winners:

MLS MVP: Taylor Twellman 2005

MLS Scoring Champion: Taylor Twellman 2002 (52 pts: 23 goals, 6 assists), Pat Noonan 2004 (30 pts: 11 goals, 8 assists)

MLS Golden Boot: Taylor Twellman 2005 (23 goals, 6 assists)

MLS Defender of the Year: Michael Parkhurst 2007, Jose Goncalves 2013

MLS Coach of the Year: Steve Nicol 2002

MLS Rookie of the Year: Clint Dempsey 2004, Michael Parkhurst 2005

MLS Newcomer of the Year: Carles Gil 2019

MLS Comeback Player of the Year: Kevin Alston 2013

From a club perspective, the Revolution are a five-time MLS Cup runner up but has yet to capture the league title. Their last Cup Final appearance was in 2014. New England is a one-time winner of the U.S. Open Cup capturing the trophy in 2007.

Revolution Academy

The Revolution Academy has been a pillar for growth within the organization and over the years has produced seven HomeGrown Players. Diego Fagundez, Scott Caldwell, Zachery Herivaux, Isaac Angking, Justin Rennicks, Nicolas Firmino, and Damien Rivera. Up until recently, the Revolution didn’t have a direct path from their youth academy to the first team. In 2020 the organization launched a USL League One team, Revolution II, which has built the perfect bridge from their youth academy to the first team. Prior to this, the HomeGrown Players were forced to either see limited MLS minutes or loaned out to other sides around the country and globe. This hindered growth, a problem that in theory is now gone.

In addition to bridging the academy to the first-team gap, the Revolution got serious when it comes to the overall program. New England invested $35 million in a brand new training center that launched in the Fall of 2019, a facility that is truly world-class. In this new building, all three levels of the Revs program (1st team-2nd-Team, Academy) will be housed under one roof.

2019 Resurgence…..

The 2019 New England Revolution were a dreadful side at the beginning of the season. But once the Revs canned Head Coach Brad Friedel and General Manager Mike Burns and hired Bruce Arena a switch was flipped.

New England went on an 11-match unbeaten run and went from last place to 7th place to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Belichickian Coach Paired With Star Talent

At the helm of the New England Revolution is a man that many see as the Bill Belichick of the American soccer world. Bruce Arena who is the eighth head coach of the franchise took over on May 14, 2019, and is a five-time MLS champion, most in league history. Not only is Arena the winningest active coach in MLS history he is also one of two coaches to reach the 200-win plateau. He is a living, breathing, Hall of Famer who just wins, sound familiar Patriots fans?

New England is headed by it’s three Designated Players, Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou, and Adam Buksa. Gil who is the best playmaker in the league spent on the bulk of 2020 sidelined with an injury. When he returned at the end of the season the Revolution went from an 8-seed to the Conference Final. That is all you need to know about Gil. Having a healthy DP trio and the addition of another target man like Edward Kizza should help the offense take the jump to the next level.

Other than the three DP’s the next star is Matt Turner. Turner just re-signed another long-term contract with the club and is one of the best American goalkeepers in the world. In front of Turner is one of the best centerback pairings in the league in Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler.

There is a few exciting unknowns on this Revs team. Wilfrid Kaptoum in the midfield is a new international signing and he developed at Barcelona in their legendary academy. Another unknown is Christian Mafla who is a 28-year-old left-back who New England is looking to solidify that position for them. Last year the left-back spot was a revolving door of sorts for the Revolution.

Here’s the current roster build:

Gustavo BouCarles GilAndrew Farrell Matt Turner
Teal BunburyScott CaldwellA.J. DeLaGarza*Brad Knighton
Adam BuksaEmmanuel Boateng*Christian Mafla*Earl Edwards Jr.*
Tajon BuchananLuis CaicedoCollin Verfurth
Justin RennicksWilfrid Kaptoum*Henry Kessler
Edward Kizza**Damien Rivera*Brandon Bye
Tommy McNamaraDeJuan Jones
Matt Polster

* Indicates new player

** 2021 MLS SuperDraft pick, not signed yet

Photo Credit: Conor Kvatek

Revs Warranting Support

So why should you start following the team? This was a club in 2020 that vastly underperformed in the regular season but was still able to make it to the Eastern Conference Final. With this roster and this coaching staff if you aren’t pegging them as one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference then you are out of your mind. This club is poised to win games and do it with consistency if everything clicks together.

Schedules Updated Once They Become Available…

So do you want to be a fan? All games are broadcasted on NBC Sports Boston and broadcasted on 98.5 The Sports Hub. For first-timers, I would recommend going to a game in-person, as for where to sit pick a spot near the center. After a while, you may want to check out New England’s supporter groups with the Midnight Riders and The Rebellion who sit in The Fort on the lighthouse end of the pitch.

Now, where can you find the latest news on the Revolution? Well for starters right here on Trifecta Sports and @TannerRebelo all season long. But following #NERevs on Twitter is a great spot for all Revolution news.

Here are other good follows for Revolution news: Jeff Lemieux, Elizabeth Pehota, Jason York, Sean Sweeney, Julian Cardillo, Frank Dell’Apa, Kyle McCarthy, Jonathan Sigal.

Podcasts: Far Post Podcast, Revolution Recap, NERevs UK Podcast

Any other questions on the Revolution? Leave a comment below and I will try and respond.

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