FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England coach Jay Heaps huddled with his assistant coaches earlier this week to pore over the recently released NCAA tournament bracket. They discussed the matchups and the seedings a bit, but, mostly, they talked about the prospects on show during the postseason.
This juncture of the season represents peak time for the college scouting process. Heaps and his staff spent the past two weekends attending games to see some of the names expected to come off the board at the MLS SuperDraft in January. The first- and second-round NCAA pairings – including a local affair between Boston College and Northeastern tonight in Brookline, Mass. – offer yet another opportunity for the Revs to evaluate potential targets for their four picks.
“We're knee-deep in it,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “Everyone has their targets and their favorites. Now we're starting to want to uncover the special players. We have a high pick. We think the draft has some really good players. But it's the second round – when we have three picks – those are the areas where you have to find players who maybe aren't on anyone's radar.”
Those sorts of tasks require a scouting system designed to gather as much information about the player as possible. Heaps tweaked the setup earlier this year as the Revs entered their first full set of preparations for the SuperDraft under his direction. Revolution assistant Remi Roy identified a large number of players for the Revs to monitor as the fall progressed.
Heaps and his coaches scouted college teams during the regular season to cull their list and focus on potential options for their four selections. Those promising players may or may not end up on the Revs' final draft board after Heaps and his staff further assess their merits on and off the field.
“It's not just seeing games live, which we have seen a lot of games live,” Heaps said. “It's also doing your homework, maybe finding out why a player transferred from one school to another or why he succeeded with this team and not that team. There's more that goes into it than just watching players. You also have to find out who they are as people.”
Heaps and his coaches hope their diligence will yield a productive rookie like current first-year standout Kelyn Rowe next January. Until the picks are submitted, Heaps said he and his staff will do whatever possible to ensure they choose the right players to bolster their squad next season.
“We're using this time to the best of our abilities,” Heaps said.