Conference Call: Heaps, Tierney & Feilhaber
Jay, what are your thoughts on the game last night, how the team looked and how’s training is going so far?
Jay Heaps: The training is going well. I think we’re starting to get everyone here. As I’m sitting here talking, Benny (Feilhaber) is sitting right here. Camp is starting to fill in so training has been going well. In terms of the game last night, there was a lot of good mixed in with some not-so-good. It’s where we expect to be, but obviously with some improvement to make.
Benny, since you joined the team mid-season last year, this is your first camp with the team. What are your thoughts on it?
Benny Feilhaber: I’ve only been in for three days, but it’s been good so far. Obviously getting the game, it’s the first time I’ve been able to play with Jay as a coach and then with the new guys on the team and the system we’re going to implement. All in all, it’s been good, but it’s still been short. There’s still a lot to be improved on, as Jay said, from the game, and I’m just really looking forward to it.
Jay, now that you have Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe in camp, have you been able to evaluate the midfield a little bit more closely?
Jay Heaps: Yes. I think we’re taking a hard look at it, and we really like where the midfield is in terms of the talent level. As mentioned, you don’t want to start and say you’ve built your formation before, we wanted to see the personnel, see what we’ve got and from now, we’re going to start building what kind of formation we’re going to play built around the players we have.
Jay, when you were playing, the Revs had a lot of success with the 3-5-2. Has going back to that entertained you at all?
Jay Heaps: It has a little bit. When you put everything on the board and you try to get your players on the field, you have to consider pretty much every formation. It’s a little premature to say what direction we’re going with it, but certainly we’ve put that formation on the board.
Benny, you were with the National Team. Do you think you’re going to be able to bring what you learned in camp with Jürgen Klinsmann and the other guys and help teach the other guys on the Revs?
Benny Feilhaber: Yes, I hope so. I think all of the veterans players on the team – and I think now I’ve found myself the fifth-oldest guy on the team – there’s definitely some experience there and some responsibility to pass that down on through the younger guys. I definitely feel the responsibility to do that and I think I have the experience and some things to offer to the younger guys, so I definitely look forward to helping out the younger guys in that sense.
Chris, you’re one of the more versatile guys on the team. Do you see yourself this year more in a midfield role or a defensive role?
Chris Tierney: It’s a good question. It’s probably too early to determine that now. We have a lot of quality player on this team who can play at a variety of different spots, so I’m a guy who’s willing to fill in wherever is needed. The good thing is the more competition we have for spots, the better a team we’re going to be. I think there’s good competition for spots all over the field and I’m happy to part of that wherever I can fill in.
Jay, you had your first scrimmage last night. Did any of the new players in camp stand out to you?
Jay Heaps: What we did last night – I don’t know if you saw the format – but we played three halves, essentially. We went two 35s (minute sessions) and a 45 (minute session). We wanted to work on some fitness, but we also wanted to open it up where we played everybody to see certain players a little bit more. In terms of the guys we’ve drafted, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with a number of them. Right off the back, Kelyn (Rowe) and Tyler (Polak) have done well. And then Michael Roach, Alec Purdie, Rick Smith, they’ve all done a nice job. And then Kevin Garcia, which was a surprise for us, has worked his way in defensively. So on just those guys, the guys we’ve drafted, we’ve had a good look. Then, the list of players as trialists we’ve had in to camp, there’s been some good and some players we won’t sign, but some guys we’re certainly having dialogue with.
With Kelyn (Rowe), he hasn’t been in camp that long, but plays a similar position to Benny (Feilhaber). What do you see his role with this team going forward, or is it too soon to tell?
Jay Heaps: It’s definitely premature, but in terms of his soccer IQ, Kelyn (Rowe) is very mature. He’s adapting to the speed of the game. Obviously it’s different than college, but he was with the (U.S. Under-) 23s, so he’s adapting to the speed and he’s going to get there. There’s no question about it – he’ll be an impact player this season.
Benny, you played against Kelyn (Rowe) with the National Team when he was with the U23s. What did you see from him there and what have you seen from him so far in camp? What do you think he brings to the table?
Benny Feilhaber: I’ve seen him a couple a couple of times with the U23s, I watched him a couple of times with UCLA, as well, and he’s a player who I think plays a little similar to how I play, actually. He tries to keep possession of the ball as much as he can, but he’s still looking upfield and trying to find the forwards and trying to find the dangerous passes. He’s a really smart player with his movements, he tries to find his little spots on the field so he can get the ball off the defense. I think he’s a guy who’s definitely going to help us keep possession in midfield and be dangerous at times. It’s a guy, regardless of where Jay (Heaps) uses him, it’s a guy who’s definitely go forward this season.
Chris, you’ve been in camp several times with this team. What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen under Jay Heaps in camp so far?
Chris Tierney: I think the first thing we all noticed as guys who were returning was a new level of professionalism that we have around here that we sort of needed. I think the last two seasons, obviously, haven’t gone our way, and at the same time, we’re sick of looking in the past and needed to take steps going forward. Everything from brining in Nick Downing as the strength and conditioning guy to a re-done locker room has given us a refreshed outlook for this year and we’re excited at the prospect of starting something new with new players and a new team.
Jay, from the outside, it seems that the one position that hasn’t been addressed yet this off-season is forward. Is that a position that you’re focusing on right now or are you content with the guys you have on the roster at the moment?
Jay Heaps: There are certain guys that we’re happy with, but we’re in talks to adding one definitely and most likely two.
And updates on Re-Entry Draft picks Nate Jaqua or Danleigh Borman and those negotiations?
Jay Heaps: Yes, moreso on Danleigh. With Nate, we’re giving him some time. But with Danleigh, there’s been an open dialogue. We’re hoping to have dialogues with both of them, but moreso it’s been more of a conversation with Danleigh.
This is your first training camp as a head coach. Have there been any unexpected surprises or challenges coming into this, whether it’s the job or the organizational standpoint?
Jay Heaps: That’s a good question. This is when you rely on your staff and everyone. In terms of Jay Miller and Remi Roy, who are guys have been here and around it, I don’t think anything has surprised me. But I certainly didn’t realize how much I was going to enjoy it. We’re having a lot of fun with it. That’s been great. Organizationally, it’s gone pretty much according to how we drew it up a couple of weeks ago when we were planning on preseason, in terms of how much we were going to play, how much we wanted to get done this week. We have a lot left, we feel like we’re starting to take bites of that elephant one day at a time.