FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There was a looming sense of déjà vu as New England Revolution players cleared out their lockers on Wednesday evening at Gillette Stadium. Once again, offseason preparations were beginning much sooner than anyone would’ve preferred.
But this offseason will be much different than any other in recent years, as the club continues its search for the seventh head coach in Revolution history and their first new leader since Jay Heaps was installed ahead of the 2012 campaign.
General Manager Michael Burns has said the Revs hope to have a head coach in place before decisions are made on next year’s roster, making the coming weeks a critical period in the club’s future.
“I think it’s huge for the identity of the club,” said goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who has spent seven seasons in New England over two separate stints. “I think setting a foundation moving forward and finding the right building blocks to build the team off of (is important).
“Getting the right players in that fit our team and that fit the coach’s style is paramount. I think they’ll look to do that in these coming months.”
A new coach will offer the Revs an opportunity to start fresh and move forward from the disappointment of the past three seasons, which have featured just one playoff game, a Knockout Round loss to D.C. United two years ago.
Kelyn Rowe – Heaps’ first-ever selection in the MLS SuperDraft in 2012 – has a keen understanding of the Revolution’s recent frustrations, while at the same time focusing his energy on the future.
“There’s definitely a sense of a fresh start, but it’s also a bitter taste, as well; the fact (is) that our actions led to this new start, and that we could’ve done a lot better,” Rowe said. “It happened, and we can’t control it. Now, what we can control is how we step on the field next year.”