FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Topping the list of priorities for the New England Revolution this offseason was the installment of a new head coach to lead the club into the future. Enter Brad Friedel, officially unveiled as the seventh head coach in Revolution history early last week.
With Friedel on board, New England’s focus now turns to building their roster for the 2018 campaign, and some critical decisions loom with the deadline to exercise or decline contract options for next year set for the afternoon of Monday, November 27.
Both Friedel and General Manager Michael Burns have expressed a belief that the Revolution’s roster doesn’t require a major overhaul, but they’ve also acknowledged that changes need to be made after the Revs missed out on the postseason for a second consecutive season.
“There have to be changes, because the last two years haven’t been good enough,” said Burns. “Having said that, we feel like we have a group of players that we want to retain and that we feel like we can build around. But we have to add pieces, and adding pieces means we have to move on from some other pieces. That has to happen and that will happen.”
Out of necessity, Jay Heaps brought forth an overhaul of the Revolution roster when he took the reins after a five-win campaign in 2011, bringing in 15 new players during his first year in charge. It’s unlikely that Friedel will require such drastic change, but next week’s roster moves will provide plenty of insight into how New England’s squad will shape up ahead of next season.
“When you’re competing for an MLS Cup, you generally tend to see less turnover because you’ve had a successful year, and we haven’t had that the last couple years,” Burns said. “We want to get back to that place.
“I’d like nothing more than to not have any turnover; that means you’re doing a lot right. But we’re not there right now. So with not participating in the playoffs and not still playing right now, we have to make changes on the field.”