New England Revolution rookie Henry Kessler has had an impressive start to his professional soccer career. In only two months of play with the Revolution, he earned a spot in the Revs’ starting XI to make both his career and home debuts. He has captured the attention of Revolution fans, and shows no signs of slowing down.
1. Foxborough Flashback
Kessler made his Revolution home debut on Saturday, March 7, starting at center back against the Chicago Fire. It was a monumental moment in Kessler’s career, but it wasn’t the first time he played on the pitch at Gillette Stadium.
In 2015, as a 17-year-old playing with Beachside SC, Kessler actually took the field at Gillette Stadium to play against the New England Revolution Academy, including future professional teammate Justin Rennicks. Kessler described his emotions by saying he was in “awe” when walking in for the first time five years ago, making his Revolution home debut an extra special, full-circle moment.
🏡 debut 🔜— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) March 6, 2020
We reminded @HenryKessler4 that he's played here @GilletteStadium before with some #FlashbackFriday memories 😃
Catch the rest of our interview with him on Revolution Pregame Live tomorrow at 12:45pm.#NEvCHI | #NERevs pic.twitter.com/iCfvKNMFk4
2. Smart Cookie
Not only is Kessler gifted on the field, but he's also demonstrated strong academic abilities, graduating from Bard High School in Manhattan in only two years. He spent two additional years earning an associate’s degree from Bard College, before the NYC native enrolled at the University of Virginia in January 2017.
Fast forward to December 2019, and the 21-year-old completed his bachelor’s degree from UVA in just two-and-a-half years.
To top it off, Kessler also earned All-ACC honors in 2019 following an All-ACC third-team selection in 2018.
3. Hungry, Hungry Henry
When veteran Diego Fagundez was asked about bonding with Kessler during preseason, he said with a chuckle, “I wouldn’t take him out to dinner because he eats a lot.”
Kessler said on Instagram that some of his favorite foods are steak, French toast and oatmeal (because it’s a good complex carbohydrate). Pregame, Kessler’s meal of choice is usually brown rice and chicken.
4. MLS SuperDraft Pick Extraordinaire
Following the end of the 2019 MLS season head coach Bruce Arena, who coached at UVA for almost 20 years, regularly visited the soccer grounds on the school's campus in Charlottesville.
Having seen Kessler play several times in person prior to the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, Arena had his sights set on the 6-foot-4 center back. Luckily, the Revs were able to secure Kessler as their top pick, and at the 6th overall selection.
“He was absolutely our first choice of player to have,” said Arena. “If we picked No. 1, we would’ve picked him. We were very fortunate he was available at No. 6 and we jumped on it immediately.
“He’s a player who we think has great potential. He’s got good size for a defender, he’s smart, a good communicator on the field, a good passer of the ball, knows how to step into the midfield and win tackles.”
5. Proudly Bold
When Kessler played for UVA in the ACC Final vs. Clemson this past year, he had a memorable interaction with former Revolution striker Charlie Davies.
The game prior, Davies was providing color commentary on the semifinal and said that UVA had the best defense in the country, and that Kessler’s freshman center back partner, Andreas Ueland, could be the best defender in the league.
At the ACC Final, Kessler approached Davies before the match. The young UVA star said that he caught Davies calling the semifinal and heard Davies’ comment about Ueland. Kessler boldly told his future colleague, "I’m going to prove why I’m actually the best defender in the league."
Then, he did.