SARASOTA, Fla. – If you ask Latif Blessing’s teammates what he’s added to the New England Revolution, they’re just as likely to tell you about the person as they are the player.
It’s only been one month since Blessing was acquired via trade with Los Angeles FC and just about four weeks since he arrived in Foxborough for his first preseason with the Revs, but the 26-year-old midfielder has already made quite the impression on his new locker room.
“He’s a good person, first and foremost, which helps the culture for the club,” said Tommy McNamara. “He’s grounded, humble, respectful, and he wants to work hard, so he’s going to be a real positive influence around the dressing room and the club.”
“He just brings a lot of energy to the team,” added Matt Polster. “His smile is infectious, he loves to dance, he’s a good vibe amongst the group, and I think obviously with that kind of experience he has, I think he’ll be able to help us.”
Blessing is aiming to bring good vibes to the Revolution locker room and a relentless work ethic to the midfield. A winger during his initial foray into MLS with Sporting Kansas City in 2017, Blessing transitioned into a central midfield role with LAFC, where he was a stalwart appearing in 145 of LAFC’s 158 regular season matches in five seasons between 2018 and 2022.
He has a smaller profile at 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds, but Blessing’s game has a bit of bite, and he has the ability to play different roles if necessary, featuring as either a box-to-box midfielder or in more of a holding role depending on who he’s playing alongside.
“He brings different qualities to the midfield, which is good, because the differences help us to play in different ways,” said McNamara. “It helps the coaching staff to make adjustments, so he brings his own qualities, which is going to help push the group and elevate the group to the next level.”
“You can see the group, I think everybody’s a good teammate. They talk to each other,” said Blessing. “I know I’m new here, but I’m getting used to it. I’m getting used to all the guys, the way they talk to me. I’m the kind of guy, I’m quiet. I don’t talk a lot, so I think I’m getting used to them, talking to them a lot. I think we’re going to be better.”
On the field Blessing prefers to let his play do the talking, and his résumé speaks volumes. A two-time Supporters’ Shield champion and 2022 MLS Cup champion with LAFC, Blessing also scored three goals in five appearances en route to a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title with SKC in 2017. He departed LAFC as the club’s all-time appearance leader while ranking second in assists (23) and fifth in goals (14).
“I have a winning mentality,” said Blessing. “I have that mentality to keep going, so I think I talk to the guys. I’m bringing a lot of energy to this team, so I think I’m going to help this team to be in good shape this year.”
Blessing may be able to help the team in another way, as well. Born and raised in Ghana, he loves to dance, an affinity he’s been sharing publicly on TikTok for the past few years. Some of his newest teammates took notice when he recently posted a trio of dances from his hotel room in Sarasota, and a few are now queuing up for lessons.
“One good thing about me, I make the group happy,” Blessing said with a smile. “I’m the kind of guy, I’m funny. I’m a little bit funny. I like dancing. The guys, too, they were like, ‘teach me how to dance so when we score we can dance.’ I’m so happy to hear them saying that, ‘Latif, teach me how to dance.’
“I think I’m going to bring good things to this team. I’m going to make everybody happy. We’re going to make the supporters, the fans, we’re going to make them happy. This year is going to be a good year for us.”