KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Slated to become a free agent for the first time at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Teal Bunbury could’ve had the opportunity to choose from several destinations in Major League Soccer.
But ultimately the veteran forward didn’t need free agency to know exactly where he wanted to be: New England, where Bunbury has spent the past seven seasons, and where he’ll remain for the foreseeable future after agreeing to a new multi-year deal with the club, announced on Monday.
“It’s something that you have to really analyze and think about,” said Bunbury. “I was going to be a free agent at the end of this year, but I knew this was a place that was heading in the right direction.
“To try to be a part of something special, try to take this club and organization to the next level in any way possible – that’s something that really meant a lot to me, and really pushed me in making this decision and making it a lot easier for me.”
Bunbury arrived in New England during the 2014 preseason, acquired via trade after spending the first four years of his career with Sporting Kansas City, where he won an MLS Cup title in 2013. It was the beginning of a new adventure, and he didn’t know quite what to expect.
Just nine months later he was on a magical playoff run with the Revs, starting in the 2014 MLS Cup final (and hitting the crossbar with a potential late winner). And while there have been peaks and valleys on the field in the years since, Bunbury’s affection for New England has only grown.
“I’ll be honest with you, I did not envision myself being here this long, but I’m so blessed and happy that I am here,” said the 30-year-old father of two. “I have my two beautiful girls (Sienna and Shaye) were born in Boston, so it’s special to me. I never would’ve thought that, but here we are now about seven years later, signing for a few more years, so it’s really exciting times and I’m really proud.”
Bunbury and his wife Kaity have put down roots in the Northeast – recently buying a house in the area – and they’ve felt the warm embrace of the New England community and Revolution supporters since day one, making the decision to stay an easy one.
Of course, the direction of the club also played a significant role in Bunbury’s decision to stay. Bruce Arena’s arrival last May sparked a remarkable turnaround that saw the Revs return to the playoffs, while the opening of the brand new Revolution Training Center late last year offers state-of-the-art facilities and serves as a beacon of the club’s ambition.
That beacon shines light on a bright future, both for Bunbury and the Revolution.
“This isn’t my first time re-signing with the club, but I think a special time with the place the club is going and heading,” said Bunbury. “The Krafts, and Bruce Arena, and the rest of the coaching staff have been phenomenal, and it’s a place I wanted to continue to be a part of to help continue to try to be a leader, continue to work hard for this club, this organization, and the community.
“I’m really grateful to be here and to re-sign.”