FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s no secret that proper fitness is a staple of the high-pressing system that Brad Friedel has implemented with the New England Revolution.
All signs point to Friedel continuing that approach in the 2019 season, but there will be a fresh face helping him in that department. The Revs are currently in the process of hiring a new Head of Fitness following the recent departure of the club's previous fitness professional, Anton McElhone, who'd joined the Revs ahead of the 2018 campaign after a decade with Tottenham.
McElhone was a key part of Friedel’s staff last season and there was mutual disappointment when his tenure ended, but for family reasons McElhone returned to his previous residence in the United Kingdom.
“Unfortunately Anton had to return home for personal reasons and that obviously is most important,” said General Manager Michael Burns. “I can tell you on a professional level he was very disappointed to have to leave here, and we were disappointed to see him leave, but family’s more important and he needed to return.”
The club is now in the midst of the interview process to find McElhone's replacement, and will continue that search until they identify the best candidate for the role, although they do hope to make a hire before the players report for preseason on January 21. Head of Fitness is a critical position for the team, particularly because of the high press and energetic style of play that Friedel has implemented.
“We want to get the right person and the right fit, but at the same time, we’re not going to force it,” said Burns. “But ideally we’ll have that person on board by January 21.”
The players will report to preseason in Foxborough in a little more than two weeks, and fitness will continue to be a big part of the 2019 Revolution team.