Now in his ninth MLS season and 10th professional season overall, Brad Knighton returns to New England in 2016 as a veteran keeper to strengthen and add competition to the Revs’ goalkeeping corps. A quiet leader on and off the field, Knighton caught the eye of the Revolution coaching staff at the team's annual tryout in early February 2007 and was offered a developmental contract. After two years as the Revs’ third-string goalkeeper, he inherited back-up duties to Matt Reis in 2009, before he was selected by the Philadelphia Union in the 2009 Expansion Draft. He then spent one season in Philly before joining the Carolina RailHawks (NASL), and leading the club to a regular-season championship, while earning NASL Best XI honors. Knighton returned to New England ahead of the 2014 season after two seasons with Whitecaps FC. Since rejoining the club, Knighton has appeared in five regular-season games in two seasons, serving primarily as the backup goalkeeper to Bobby Shuttleworth.
2015: Made three appearances in 2015, making his season debut in the 4-2 loss at Sporting Kansas City on May 20. Knighton made his second appearance of the season in the 1-0 home win over NYC FC on July 18, making three saves to record his first shutout as a member of the Revs and his first shutout in MLS since July 6, 2013 when he played for Vancouver. That game also saw Knighton become the 11th goalkeeper in Revolution history to start 10 or more games for the club. He continued in goal the following week, making a season-high four saves in a 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire. Knighton served as the backup goalkeeper for all 31 other games that the Revs played in. He also started in the 1-0 defeat to Charlotte in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup, marking his fifth appearance for the Revs in the competition, leaving him tied with Doug Warren for second in that category for goalkeepers. He was loaned to the Richmond Kickers (USL) for one game and played the full 90 minutes, making six saves in the Kickers’ 1-1 draw with the Charleston Battery on June 10.
2014: Knighton returned to the Revolution and made five appearances in all competitions for the club. Both of his starts in the league came against Philadelphia, making his first start of the season on May 17, making four saves in a 5-3 win at PPL Park. He was back in the starting lineup on June 28 in a 3-1 home loss to the Union, making two saves. Knighton also started all three of the club’s U.S. Open Cup matches, earning wins over Richmond and Rochester in the fourth and fifth rounds before suffering a loss to Philadelphia in the quarterfinals.
2013: Set career-highs with 11 games played and started while playing 990 minutes with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He finished the season with a 6-3-2 record and two shutouts, posting the most wins among the club’s three goalkeepers and a personal career-high. Knighton opened the season as the backup to Joe Cannon but he started 11 straight games from May 18 until July 27, helping Vancouver collect 20 of their 48 points on the season. Knighton made his season debut in a 2-2 draw with Portland on May 18 and collected his first win two weeks later at Red Bull Arena, helping Vancouver earn a 2-1 victory. Had two clean sheets in a three game span, shutting out D.C. United on the road on June 29 and then setting a season-high by making seven saves in a 2-0 win over Seattle on July 6. Knighton recorded the first assist of his MLS career on Darren Mattocks' goal in that game and then added a second assist just one week later, setting up Camilo’s first goal in a 3-1 win over Chicago on July 14. After the season, Knighton was available in the MLS Re-Entry Process, but he opted out of the process to facilitate a trade to New England. On Dec. 11, he was traded to the Revolution in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 SuperDraft.
2012: Signed by the Whitecaps on Jan. 17, 2012, following head coach Martin Rennie to Vancouver from the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks. He made 10 appearances in his first season in Vancouver, starting eight times and playing a total of 782 minutes. He finished the season with a 3-3-3 record with three shutouts and a 0.81 goals against average as Vancouver reached the postseason for the first time in club history. He made his Whitecaps debut on March 17, coming off the bench to replace the injured Joe Cannon in a 1-0 win over Chivas USA. He made one more substitute appearance and started his first game with the club in a 2-1 home win over Real Salt Lake on Aug. 11 before starting his team’s final seven games of the regular season starting on Sept. 1. He made a season-high six saves in that game and kept a clean sheet in three of the final four games of the year. Knighton made his MLS Cup Playoff debut on Nov. 1, making five saves in a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Knockout Round.
2010: Knighton started eight games for the expansion Philadelphia Union after being selected by the club in the MLS Expansion Draft. He finished the year with a 3-3-1 record and a 1.10 goals against average and two shutouts. He made his Union debut on Aug. 8, but was sent off after just 22 minutes. He returned to the starting lineup on Sept. 11 against Chicago, making four saves and collecting the first shutout of his MLS career. That was the first of seven straight starts for Knighton to close out the season as he collected three of his club’s eight wins on the year, including a 3-0 win over Chivas USA in which he kept his second clean sheet of the season. In addition to his play in MLS, Knighton also played a total of 180 minutes without allowing a goal in friendlies against Celtic FC (SCO), Manchester United (ENG) and Club Deportivo (Chivas) Guadalajara (MEX).
2009: Made six appearances – all starts – for the Revolution, posting a 1-2-3 record with a 2.33 goals against average and 36 saves. Knighton made his MLS debut at New York on March 28, drawing the start after Matt Reis was scratched in warm-ups with a knee injury. He made three saves in that game, which finished in a 1-1 draw. Knighton was back in the starting lineup on April 4, earning his first win, making nine saves (still a career-high) in a 2-1 win over FC Dallas at Gillette Stadium. He also started each of the next two games, combining to make 13 saves in those contests. Knighton made six or more saves in four of his six starts that season, including seven in a 1-1 draw with Colorado on May 16. His final appearance of the year came on Sept. 5 in a 4-2 home loss to Kansas City. Knighton also appeared in the Revs’ Third Round U.S. Open Cup match against the Harrisburg City Islanders, making his tournament debut in a 2-1 loss. He was selected third overall by Philadelphia in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft after the Revs left him exposed.
2008: Did not make an appearance with the first team during the regular season, but did make four starts in the Reserve League, keeping one clean sheet. Knighton was loaned to the Portland Timbers of the USL First Division (now USL) on July 2 and appeared in eight games with the club, registering a 1-3-4 record and a 1.25 goals against average. He was recalled from loan in mid-August, following an injury to Matt Reis, and finished the season with the Revs.
2007: Knighton signed with the Revolution on March 7 after a strong preseason while on trial with the club. He did not make any first team appearances, but did play in six Reserve League games, tallying a 2-3-0 record with one shutout and a 1.40 goals against average.
CLUB CAREER OUTSIDE OF MLS
Spent the 2011 season with the NASL’s Carolina RailHawaks, starting all 28 matches that he appeared in and helping lead Carolina to the regular-season NASL championship. Knighton recorded a 17-8-3 record and was named to the NASL Best XI while posting eight shutouts. In June 2015, the Revs loaned Knighton to the USL’s Richmond Kickers for a game against Charleston. He would make six saves in a 1-1 draw.
A two-time NSCAA All-Southeast Region and All-Colonial Athletic Association selection at UNC-Wilmington where he played under former Revolution goalkeeper Aidan Heaney, Knighton helped lead the Seahawks to the CAA Tournament four times. As a senior in 2006, Knighton set a then-school record by registering a 0.83 goals against average to go along with 11 wins and six shutouts. He finished his collegiate career ranked first in UNC-Wilmington history in shutouts (25) and GAA (1.08), and fourth in career saves (295). A four-year starter under Heaney, Knighton started all but four of UNCW's games in his career.