FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As the New England Revolution extended their unbeaten run to six games while remaining atop the Supporters' Shield standings going 12-3-4 (40 points), there was an individual who also elevated their rank by setting a new club record for the most games started in Revolution history.
Defender Andrew Farrell claimed this prestigious accolade with his 255th Revolution start in the club's 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
“To have the club record is great,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “I hope we give him like a Rolex watch, as opposed to a jersey that says how many games in a row he’s played. I think that would be nice.”
While Arena kids about what Farrell could be awarded for his efforts, his contributions to the club over nine seasons are no joke.
Farrell has been a consistent and reliable presence on the Revolution backline since being drafted first overall by the club in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, and leads all MLS players in appearances, starts and minutes since his selection. Throughout his tenure in New England he has also exhibited his defensive versatility playing right back, left back and center back throughout his career.
Farrell has also earned several awards along the way, being voted the club’s Defender of the Year by local media three times (2015, 2018, and 2019), as well as receiving the club’s 2018 Humanitarian of the Year Award.
“Andrew [Farrell] is not the most gifted player, but he’s mentally and physically suited to be a durable player,” said Arena. “He’s a great competitor, he’s a great teammate, and he’s playing a position that’s still relatively new for him. And to have that kind of longevity and quality, he’s well respected by his teammates as a leader.”
In addition to being a team mentor, prankster, and biggest hype man, the respect Farrell has earned from his teammates in the locker room is colossal.
“[Andrew is] a great leader, a great friend, great teammate,” said DeJuan Jones, who’s played alongside Farrell on the backline for three seasons. “His communication and leadership are kind of unsung.
“He's always talking to us younger guys and giving us that leadership. Whether it's putting his head on the line, making the game-saving tackle, he's always going to be there encouraging us. When we make mistakes, he's right there to pick us back up. Farrell's a great guy. I couldn't be happier for him.”
While the tangible aspects of Farrell’s leadership can be seen when he translates for Spanish-speaking teammates in the locker room and organizes the backline on the field, his true team mentality has touched everyone on the roster in a special way, especially goalkeeper and former roommate Matt Turner.
“He’s a great guy to have around, not only for what he brings on the field, but also off the field,” said Turner. “He’s a really important player to our locker room. And he’s a really important friend to me.
“Our relationship is very, very special to me. He’s helped me from the time that I was playing as a third string, and then we were living together, and I was sort of learning from him day in and day out about what it takes to get your mind right every day for training. This guy just shows up every single week, every single game, every single practice. It’s been great to learn from him for years, and I look forward to not only the rest of this season, but the rest of our lives being buds.”
In order to set a new club record, Farrell had to surpass club legend Sharlie Joseph, who held the previous club record at 254.
“It’s certainly nice, in that the guy that he replaced for that record [Shalrie Joseph] was a hell of a player and person as well,” said Arena. “I congratulate Andrew on his accomplishment.”
Adding to the list of Revolution legends Farrell will go down in history alongside, in the first half against Philadelphia, Farrell also jumped Matt Reis (22,699) for the second-most minutes played in New England history. The 29-year-old is also on pace to break the club record for appearances (261), currently held by both Joseph and club great Diego Fagundez, in the coming weeks.
Following the final whistle in the Revs' victory over the Union, The Fort called Farrell over, chanting his name and inviting him onto the capo stand for a standing ovation.
“I was so tired [and] the guys told me to go over there [to celebrate],” said Farrell. “It feels great. It’s crazy. It’s a lot of games.
“Hopefully, I’ve got a lot more in me. I don’t know about 255 more, but hopefully a couple more at least and hopefully we can win something.”
Farrell continues his historic record-breaking season with his next appearance en route to the most all-time against Toronto FC next Saturday night.