FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A phone call from Brad Friedel shortly after he was named New England Revolution head coach gave Zach Herivaux a healthy dose of motivation.
“He said the guys who work hard in training are going to get a chance,” Herivaux said of the message from Friedel. “It doesn’t matter what your name is, it doesn’t matter how much you make – if you work hard in training, you’ll get an opportunity. I knew I was going to be able to do that this year.”
Herivaux’s persistent efforts on the training ground paid off with a 23-minute runout on Saturday night against Toronto FC, as the 22-year-old midfielder came off the bench to help the Revs close out a hard-fought, 3-2 win over the defending MLS Cup champs.
The moment was a long time coming for Herivaux. It was his first MLS appearance since the 2016 season finale and his first extended runout in the league since he played 22 minutes at the tail end of a loss to the Philadelphia Union on Aug. 13, 2016.
“[Brad Friedel]’s always telling me to work hard in training, and that’s what I’ve been doing,” Herivaux said. “I always put my head down and just work and wait for my opportunity. I knew it was going to come this season and it came, so when I got the opportunity, I just wanted to work hard and help the team out.”
“He gives it his all every day,” Scott Caldwell said of his fellow Homegrown midfielder. “His minutes were deserved and he did a great job with them. It’s good to see that, and hopefully it only encourages guys to continue to work hard, and see that you’ll get the opportunity and do the most of with it.”
Herivaux featured in an advanced midfield role against Toronto FC, a slight departure from his previous time with the Revs when he sat a bit deeper in central midfield. That, according to Friedel, was so that Herivaux could put pressure on TFC’s backline as they continued to try to play out of the back.
Friedel also said that Herivaux had been in contention for a starting spot in recent weeks, and with Diego Fagundez suspended for this weekend’s visit from Columbus Crew SC (yellow card accumulation), Herivaux is one of several options in that No. 10 role.
But that’s not the only spot Friedel sees value for Herivaux.
“Zach can play as a six, eight, or as a 10 depending on the system that you’re playing,” Friedel said. “It’s very good to have versatile players like that in your team.”
“He just views me as a midfielder,” Herivaux said. “Whatever position I’m out there, I just play. Whether it’s the eight, six, 10, it doesn’t matter. They train me in all three positions, so I’m prepared.”
Herivaux will be prepared for his next opportunity whenever it arrives, and whether that’s this weekend against Columbus or further down the road, he’s confident that chance will come.
“[The coaching staff] always push me, they always keep me involved, update me on how I’m doing,” Herivaux said. “They always make me feel like I have an opportunity ahead of me. I keep working hard in training and I know that they keep looking at training to see how hard I’m working, so hopefully I get more opportunities.”