Year one of the New England Revolution II is officially in the books. Revs II finished USL League One play with a 5-3-8 record and had a total of 27 players make appearances for the second-team. With Revs II wins and losses was never the objective but rather to develop young players was the projects imperative.
In a typical year you would see a lot of movement between the first-team and the second-team but due to COVID-19 protocols the chance of that happening in 2020 was non-existent. Thus the players who were with Revs II played a lot of minutes with nine outfield players eclipsing the 1,000 minutes played mark.
“It is a long-term project, and it was made even more difficult this year with COVID and the different protocols,” said Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena on Revs II’s first season. “In a typical year, we would be able to utilize our players that we sent down there back in training and in some games, but because of the various protocols – specifically quarantine and things like that – it became not as coordinated as we would like it to be. Having said that, they had a very good year, I think.
We sent down five players from our MLS roster who got a lot of minutes and they improved. The goal of that program is to ultimately develop our younger players out of the academy. We’re looking forward to the day that we develop a couple of our younger players and they can help the first team. That’s going to be the goal of it, but I think in year one it worked out great for us.”Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena
Revolution First Teamer’s
In total the Revolution had five first-teamers spend the bulk of the 2020 season with Revs II.
2020 MLS SuperDraft Picks
New England took Simon Lekressner with the 30th overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. The defender appeared in just one match with Revs II going 45 minutes. The 22-year-old suffered an injury.
The other Revs SuperDraft pick to see action for Revs II was goalkeeper Keegan Meyer. The 43rd overall pick served as the back-up goalkeeper to Joe Rice but still managed to make 8 appearances on the season. Meyer conceded 14 goals and made 21 saves with a 60% save percentage. Meyer also had one clean sheet on the year.
Jon Bell, a 23-year-old defender out of UMBC was drafted with the 38th overall pick by the San Jose Earthquakes. Bell made 15 appearances for the mini Revs racking up 1,350 minutes.
Another player the Revs didn’t draft but found their way to new England is Ryo Shimazaki. The 23-year-old defender was taken with the 59th overall pick by the Columbus Crew. Shimazaki appeared in seven matches with a goal scored in 377 minutes played.
Former Revolution Academy Players
One of the main objectives with Revolution II was building a bridge between the Revolution Academy and the first team. Meny Silva is one the players who are on that track. The 18-year-old forward appeared in six matches with 69 minutes played.
Following Silva is midfielder Dennis Ramirez who did not make an appearance for Revs II this season but the 19-year-old did appear in 33 matches at the U-19 level from 2018-20.
Current Revolution Academy Players
This doesn’t take into account former Academy players like Trevor Burns (2 appearances), Kaoru Fujiwara (3 appearances).
New To The Revolution
To fill the rest of the roster the Revolution looked for players from all over. From local players to USL veterans. One of the big standouts here is goalkeeper Joe Rice. In nine appearances Rice conceded 12 goals and made 45 saves on a 78.9 save percentage. Three of his nine appearances were clean sheets. The 24-year-old suffered an injury in late September forcing him to miss the remainder of the USL League One season. Rice is certainly a player to keep an eye on in the near future.
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The typical back-and-forth between the first team and second team didn’t happen in 2020 so great play wasn’t rewarded but minutes did come for a handful of players. Justin Rennicks scored at ease, Firmino showed he has a rocket, Mendonca was fantastic, and Rice showed immense talent in net.
Overall the first season for Revs II was a success given the circumstances. Film on tape for the Academy Players and plenty of growth or lack-thereof on display from first-teamers and signees. The bridge between the two levels will have to wait for a post-COVID era but for year-one, not bad, not bad at all.