FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Gustavo Bou sees a bright future coming into focus for the New England Revolution, and he wants to be part of it.
From the club’s recent revival under sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena, to the state-of-the-art training facility set for completion later this year, to a clear commitment from Revolution leadership to invest both on and off the field, all signs pointed Bou in the direction of New England.
“Initially when Bruce approached me, he really explained to me the new project he’s trying to set here at New England Revolution,” Bou said through an interpreter. “He really wanted me to be here and be part of this team. He also told me about the support the (ownership) has for the team, and how they’re willing to invest and bring in new players to build up a much more competitive team.
“That was really attractive to me, to come here and start a new challenge. Knowing myself, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for the next challenge, and in reality, that’s what really brought me here is the new project and just a new challenge to play in a new league.”
Bou has risen to new challenges in new leagues before. The 29-year-old attacker registered 45 goals in 100 appearances for Racing Club in his native Argentina from 2014-17, before making the jump to Mexico’s Liga MX with Tijuana in 2017. He continued his goal-scoring exploits with Xolos, scoring 20 times in 49 appearances, including seven goals in his final six appearances for the club.
Even as he hit his stride in Mexico, the lure of MLS beckoned to Bou, and the success of fellow Argentine players like Brian Fernandez (Portland Timbers), Hector Villalba (Atlanta United) and Pity Martinez (Atlanta United) provided all the evidence Bou needed to trust it’s the right move.
“I know the league very well. I have a lot of friends and colleagues that have played in MLS over the years,” Bou said. “It’s a league that is growing.
“I recently heard there’s going to be a joint competition with the Mexican league and MLS (the Leagues Cup, beginning this month) – two countries that have a big rivalry in soccer, but it helps both of the leagues grow together, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Bou is also looking forward to growing with his Revolution teammates, meeting them for the first time on Tuesday morning. While he’ll be the lone Argentine on New England’s roster, he was welcomed by several South Americans like Cristian Penilla (Ecuador), Luis Caicedo (Colombia) and Juan Fernando Caicedo (Colombia), as well as a Spanish-speaking captain (Carles Gil).
It wasn’t just the Spanish speakers who made Bou feel at home, of course, and he was delighted to find such a welcoming group.
“Usually you expect that coming into a new locker room it’s a bit different and you don’t know any of the players, but they really welcomed me with open arms,” Bou said. “I feel very welcome here, very happy to be here, and I’m just hoping that we can grow together as a team in the coming games.”
The coming games will present Bou an opportunity to jump directly into the fray for a Revolution side pushing for a playoff spot, and currently riding the league’s longest active unbeaten run (seven games, 4-0-3), the Revs very much have their sights set on postseason soccer.
Where, exactly, Bou fits into the Revolution setup will be determined in the coming weeks as he settles into the squad, but there’s little question he’ll play a significant role as the Revs continue to build through the final 15 games of the regular season, and into the future.
“I’m very eager to get started, to get playing,” Bou said. “I know initially that was the goal for the team – to make it into the playoffs. I’m looking forward to getting a couple games in, getting to know the players, getting to know the coaching staff and everybody on the team.
“It’s certainly exciting and a challenge. The team is almost there in the playoff (spots), Certainly the goal has not changed, and I’m going to do as much as I can to help the team reach that goal.”