FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Henry Kessler became the New England Revolution’s eighth offseason signing when he was selected with the sixth overall pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, bringing the Revs’ roster up to 27 players ahead of the start of preseason next weekend.
Fellow draft picks Simon Lekressner and Keegan Meyer could potentially bring that number up to 29 – should they earn roster spots – meaning that Bruce Arena and his staff are very close to completing their roster before camp begins, and still seven weeks out from the season opener in Montreal.
“We’re pretty well set,” Arena said on Thursday afternoon. “There’s always going to be a player or two along the way that you need to consider. We’re not shutting the door on anything, but we are very close to having a roster that will be around on opening day.
“I think our coaching staff has been outstanding, our scouting department has done an outstanding job, and we’re pleased with the roster that we’ve put together. Now the job is up to the coaches and players to make this roster into a better team than we saw in 2019.”
New England return 19 players from that 2019 roster – including Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou, who finished first and fifth in last year’s MLS Newcomer of the Year voting, respectively – while adding a third Designated Player in young Polish forward Adam Buksa.
In addition to Buksa and Kessler – who was automatically added to the Revolution’s roster as a Generation adidas selection – the Revs have also completed deals for Alexander Büttner, Jeff Caldwell, Samba Camara, Damian Rivera, Kelyn Rowe, and Seth Sinovic, providing New England with a mix of experience and young potential at positions all over the field.
Perhaps most important is the timing of these moves. Arena and his staff worked tirelessly to complete a squad before day one of preseason, providing players and coaches with the maximum amount of time together to form a cohesive group before the opener on February 29.
“I think it’s important to have our team together,” Arena said. “I think the second half of the (2019) season was pretty solid for our team, and a number of those players are back. We added players at positions we think we needed to improve. I think that was all accomplished.
“We’re excited as a coaching staff to have an opportunity to be in preseason with this group, and move them along.”
Arena reiterated that “there can be adjustments made along the way” and didn’t rule out additional moves in 2020 – including during preseason – but it’s clear that New England’s opening day roster will, at the very least, be very close to the group currently assembled.
That group will assemble for the first time next Saturday, January 18, at the Revolution’s brand new Training Center in Foxborough, Mass., and Arena is very much looking forward to wrapping up the offseason and getting back to his favorite part of the job: coaching.
“Coaches like to coach, players like to play, so it’ll be nice to get everyone back together,” Arena said. “Hopefully we can build a good team in preseason and be ready to go when we open the season against Montreal.”