FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution’s league-best defense added even more depth last week with the acquisition of Jamaican National Team full-back O’Brian Woodbine.
Woodbine, 25, impressed the Revolution’s technical staff in a brief training spell earlier this season, but it was his performances with Jamaica that initially attracted the attention of New England’s brass.
Able to play both outside back positions, Woodbine has carved out a place as the first-choice left back for the Reggae Boyz, starting in each of his country’s last three World Cup Qualifiers.
“We’re excited to add another experienced defender,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “He was a player who was on our radar for a little while. We watched him through his qualifiers against Mexico and most of the spring.”
Woodbine had in fact attracted the attention of multiple MLS clubs, so much so that more than one team had put in a discovery claim on the young defender. That led to a protracted signing process, and while it took a bit longer than anticipated, the Revs were able to get a deal finalized last week.
As it is, Heaps will have to wait just a bit longer to finally bring his new signing into the fold. Originally slated to join the Revs for training this week, Woodbine was called in by Jamaica for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Panama (Sept. 6) and Costa Rica (Sept. 10), pushing his arrival in Foxborough back to Sept. 12.
When Woodbine does arrive, he’ll no doubt strive to make an impact as the Revs push for a playoff place down the stretch run. But Heaps has an eye toward the future, aiming to use the rest of this season as an adjustment period for Woodbine in the hopes he can make an impact in 2014 and beyond.
“He’s someone that we’re looking for the future with,” said Heaps. “He’s someone we signed this year to see how he assimilates with our group, and someone next year that we can use – even this year – but use to see what he’s going to do this year into next year.”