Roster will continue to take shape as preseason camp gets underway this weekend
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The MLS SuperDraft wrapped up yesterday afternoon and preseason camp begins in earnest on Saturday morning, but that doesn’t mean the New England Revolution is done shaping its roster ahead of the 2014 season.
New England opens camp with 24 players signed to the roster – four new additions to bolster the 20 returning from last year’s squad – leaving as many as six spots yet to be filled. And after a decidedly attack-minded feel to the club’s SuperDraft, General Manager Michael Burns says the Revolution is still on the hunt for offensive reinforcements.
“We’re still looking to add some other pieces in the attacking third of the field,” he said. “We’re also looking to possibly add a midfielder or two. Those are the primary areas of the field that we’re looking at.”
Burns said the Revolution’s roster is “probably a little bit further along” than it has been going into past preseason camps, but added that work still needs to be done ahead of the March 8 season opener. A group of trialists will join the Revs on their preseason trip to Bradenton, Fla., while the technical staff will continue to go on international scouting trips throughout preseason.
This year’s camp will be more condensed than years past – six weeks, as opposed to seven weeks in 2013 – putting a bit more urgency on the task of filling out the roster. But the Revs are boosted by the fact that such a large chunk of last year’s roster is returning for 2014.
“It just seems like yesterday that the season ended, so I can’t believe that the guys are already reporting back,” said Burns. “It’ll be good to get everyone back together, and I’m sure they’re excited to get going, but our work’s not complete in terms of our comfort level of where the roster is at, so we’ll continue to try to tweak it over the next couple months.”
Tweaks are already underway with the acquisitions of goalkeeper Brad Knighton and midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo, as well as the recent additions of draft picks Steve Neumann and Patrick Mullins. Fellow draft picks Alec Sundly and Pierre Omanga will also hope to secure roster spots in preseason camp.
But Burns cautioned against placing too many expectations on the crop of rookies, saying any immediate contributions from them in 2014 would be considered a bonus.
“You always hope and you always think that if you can get some solid contributions from rookies, that’s a positive,” said Burns. “But it’d be a little misleading to our fans and to everyone else to think that Patrick Mullins or Steve Neumann or Pierre Omanga or Alec Sundly are going to come in and be the answer and start 34 games (in 2014).
“There’s a long way to go. It’s obviously a big step for each of these individuals, but we’re hoping all of them can add something, not just in 2014, but hopefully beyond.”
As for those forthcoming additions who’ll be expected to make immediate contributions in 2014, we’ll find out more as preseason camp gets into full swing.