Designated Player

Life on and off the field spurs Bou’s desire to stay with Revs | “To be here is incredible”

11_9_21 BouContract

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Players with the pedigree and class of Gustavo Bou are in demand around the world, and should the 31-year-old striker have chosen to continue his career elsewhere at the conclusion of his initial New England Revolution contract, he surely would’ve had several suitors.

But leaving New England, Bou said, never crossed his mind.

“To be honest, I’m not aware of any interest from other clubs,” Bou said on Tuesday morning, shortly after it was announced he’d signed a two-year contract extension to keep him in Foxborough through 2023. “I was clear with my representative that if I got interest from another club while I’m under contract, I don’t want to hear it and I’m not interested.”

That made contract negotiations with Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena straightforward. There was no protracted back-and-forth, no posturing, no deadlines. Bou wanted to stay with the Revolution, and likewise, the club wanted to hang on to a player that has registered 32 goals and 15 assists in 67 combined regular season and playoff appearances since arriving in July 2019. So, they reached a mutually beneficial deal.

“I think it was a really good conversation,” Bou said. “It wasn’t too long because both sides thought the same way. We thought about the project and achieving things for this organization. I’m thankful that Bruce is interested in me continuing with this club. That motivates me a lot and tells me I’m doing well, and helping my teammates achieve important things. That was the conversation we had.”

On the surface, it’s easy to see why Bou wanted to stay in New England. He’s in potentially the best form of his career, having just completed a regular season in which he registered 15 goals and nine assists to garner MLS MVP consideration and an All-Star nod. The team is soaring, as well, preparing for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after claiming the first Supporters’ Shield in club history with an MLS single-season record 73 points.

But digging deeper, Bou’s decision to re-up with the Revs came down to more than just success on the field. Since arriving in New England a little more than two years ago – following 12 seasons spent in South America and Mexico – Bou has felt welcomed by the entire Revolution organization, from his coaches and teammates all the way to the club’s loyal supporters.

“I think from the first day I felt it,” Bou said. “The coaching staff was interested in me. They contacted me quickly, they traveled to Mexico to talk to me and tell me about the project they had in mind for this club. My teammates received me in the best way, and they helped me adapt on the field of play.

“The fans, from day one, showed support through social media. When I first got to play at Gillette Stadium, they showed that support. That fills me with happiness, and it helps me give my all in every moment. It’s been two-and-a-half years and I feel very happy with this club.”

Bou admits that he expected it to be more difficult adapting to life in New England – “It’s very different from the other areas I’ve lived,” he said – but adjusting to a new language, culture, and foods has been much smoother than anticipated. Importantly that’s been the case not just for the player himself, but also for his family, who enjoy a quiet life in the suburbs.

“We were lucky to vacation in the United States before we moved here. Boston wasn’t an area that we visited during that vacation, but we knew that this is a country with very nice culture,” said Bou. “The lifestyle here is calm, day by day. We really enjoy that as a family because we’re a very calm and peaceful family. To be here is incredible.”

New England is also a region that holds sports in high regard – something Bou noted as another attraction that drew him to the area – and he’d love nothing more than to reward the Revolution’s faith in him by helping deliver a first MLS Cup title on December 11 at Gillette Stadium.

“I think we know what the expectations are,” Bou said. “We finished the regular season and we earned the first seed. Now comes the nice part, the playoffs. We know we have 20 days to prepare for the [Eastern Conference] Semifinal game here at home. We’re very motivated for that moment and to continue chasing our next objective.”

Bou’s new contract ensures he’ll continue chasing those objectives in New England for years to come.