FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As an individual, Carles Gil won just about everything he could’ve won in 2019.
The 27-year-old midfielder took MLS by storm in his first season stateside, racking up 10 goals and 14 assists to secure the league’s Newcomer of the Year award and MLS Best XI honors. At the club level he was named JetBlue Revolution Team MVP (by fan vote), Players’ Player of the Year (by his teammates), and Midnight Riders Man of the Year (by the supporters’ group).
It was, by every metric, a remarkable debut season.
“On a personal level, I thought I had a great year,” Gil said via interpreter on Monday afternoon, almost one year to the day since he joined the Revolution. “I owe a lot of that to my teammates and my coaches, helping me get accustomed to the city, the league, and the team. So I’m really happy about that.”
But Gil is also quick to point out that he didn’t join the Revs to win individual accolades – he came to win trophies, and although last year fell short of that objective with a first-round playoff loss to Atlanta United FC, New England’s second-half turnaround provides a foundation for hope in 2020.
“Going into this year, we feel really inspired,” Gil said. “We feel we have the pieces in place, and with another year under our belts to kind of know Bruce (Arena), hopefully that all works out well for us.
“I think our number one goal is just to pick up where we left off last year. Obviously we didn’t have a really good start to the season, but we figured things out. Right now, we’re just trying to pick up on the good things we developed last year and reach our goals.”
Those goals are somewhat abstract – Arena has said he doesn’t want to focus on titles, but rather being a good team and improving every day – but with regards to building off last year’s growth, there’s plenty to like about where the Revs stand following a promising 2019.
For one, Gil has already established a symbiotic relationship with Gustavo Bou, who arrived last July and immediately formed a connection with his attacking partner. The duo combined several times through the final three months of the season, with Gil providing the primary assist on three of Bou’s nine goals.
“We’ve developed great chemistry,” Gil said of his bond with Bou. “Every day, we’re learning each other better and better. From day one, we had great chemistry. We worked really well together. It’s always to our benefit if we can continue to work well with one another, learn one another, and get the new guys in the mix and reach our goals from there.”
One of those new guys is forward Adam Buksa, who arrives as the Revolution’s third attack-minded Designated Player alongside Gil and Bou. At 6-foot-3 and operating as a classic center forward, Buksa provides a different element to the Revolution attack – one Gil is excited to work with in 2020.
“He’s a very unique player,” Gil said of Buksa. “He’s a little different than what we’ve had in the past. He’s a very fine-tuned player, and I think that works to our benefit, because we always want to be a well-rounded team and kind of have a little bit of everything. We’re excited to have him.”
The Revs would surely say the same of Gil, who enters his second MLS season with roots comfortably planted in New England, unburdened by the stress that comes with adapting to a new situation. Free to focus entirely on soccer, Gil has his sights set even higher in 2020.
“I know the team, I know the organization, I know the coaches and my teammates,” said Gil. “I also know the league and how things work on that end, so hopefully that works in my favor, and hopefully I can have a better year than the year I had last year.”