FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Gustavo Bou’s professional career spans 12 years, seven clubs, and four different countries, but his first offseason in MLS presented a unique challenge.
Bou – who played previously in Argentina, Mexico, and Ecuador – is accustomed to a somewhat abbreviated offseason, making the three-month gap between the New England Revolution’s 2019 finale and first training session of 2020 an entirely new experience.
To combat the lengthy layoff, Bou sought the help of an expert.
“I’m not really used to having that much time off, so what I did was I consulted a professor,” Bou said via interpreter on Wednesday afternoon as the Revs wrapped up a two-hour training session. “We did a little bit of a preseason type of thing, so I could come back as best prepared as I could be.”
Bou’s offseason workouts paid dividends, as the forward – who’ll turn 30 during the Revs’ upcoming preseason trip to Portland, Oregon – arrived in Foxborough fit and ready to go as he looks to build upon the half-season he spent in New England last year, scoring nine goals in 14 appearances.
“He’s surprised me,” admitted sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena. “He’s worked hard in the offseason, he came in pretty fit, and he’s worked real hard in preseason to date. I think he’s certainly capable of having a real quality season.”
Bou looked more than capable after arriving stateside last July, scoring on a world-class volley just 45 minutes into his debut against Vancouver and never looking back. He registered at least one goal or one assist in 10 of his 14 appearances en route to finishing fifth in MLS Newcomer of the Year voting, an award won by teammate Carles Gil.
Having hit the ground running last season it’s fair to wonder how much better Bou could really be in 2020, but the player himself is confident that a full preseason will only serve to raise his level – a prospect that could be terrifying for opposing defenses.
“It feels good to be here from the very beginning,” Bou said. “Last year I came here halfway (through the year) and we made the playoffs. That was one of our goals. Hopefully we can do that again, but I’m glad to be here from very beginning this time around.”