Sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena hinted in mid-December that the New England Revolution would be active this offseason as they aimed to strengthen the roster ahead of the 2021 campaign.
“(The offseason) will be busy, but we’ve done a lot of the work already … We’ve been working real hard,” Arena told Zolak and Bertrand on 98.5 The Sports Hub on December 10.
Fast forward to late February and Arena’s foreshadowing has been proven accurate. The Revs have acquired five new players, re-signed two from last year's roster, selected two more in the SuperDraft, and have seen three players called up to their respective national teams.
As the Revs gear up for the official start of preseason on March 1, here’s a recap of all the events of this offseason.
December 6, 2020: Revs fall to Crew SC in Eastern Conference Final
New England's 1-0 loss to Crew SC ended the Revolution’s bid for a sixth Eastern Conference title and closed out what was unquestionably the most unusual season in club history. However, the Revs’ incredible playoff run as the No. 8 seed took the league by storm and provided hope for the club’s prospects moving forward, while it also offered valuable experience for those who will be in a Revolution jersey again in 2021. Watch this epic 'Outside the Box’ playoff edition to relive all of the postseason action.
December 8, 2020: Revs announce roster decisions for 2021
Just two days after the season ended the Revs trimmed their roster to 18 players, as five players were out of contract and seven did not have their 2021 options exercised.
One of the most notable departures was the club's first-ever Homegrown signing Diego Fagundez, who played with the Revs for 10 years and holds the Revolution all-time regular season appearance record (261) alongside club legend Shalrie Joseph. Fagundez will play at a new club for the first time in 2021, as he joins Austin FC for their inaugural season.
December 13, 2020: Revs acquire College Player Rights to defender Jon Bell
The Revs acquired the College Player Rights to defender Jon Bell from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for the Revs’ fourth-round selection in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft. Bell was selected in the second round (38th overall) of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by San Jose and spent the 2020 season with Revolution II in USL League One. Bell appeared in all but one match for Revolution II during the team’s inaugural USL League One campaign in 2020, registering 15 starts in central defense.
December 19, 2020: Revs sign free agent goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr.
New England's first addition of the offseason was goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr., signed as a free agent. Entering his seventh MLS season in 2021, Edwards arrives in New England following two years with D.C. United and four prior seasons with Orlando City SC.
December 21, 2020: Revs acquire left back Christian Mafla
As a left-footed defender, Christian Mafla will add stability to the Revs' backline. With 10 professional seasons in South America, including the last five in Colombia’s top-flight Categoría Primera A with Atlético Nacional and Atlético Bucaramanga, the 27-year-old will also bring experience and skill to the Revs’ defense.
December 22, 2020: Revs re-sign midfielder Tommy McNamara
With 14 appearances and 11 starts after joining the Revs in August 2020, Tommy McNamara quickly became an integral piece of New England’s lineup last season. With another opportunity to impress with the Revs in 2021, you can bet there will be more to come.
December 23, 2020: Revs sign midfielder Wilfrid Kaptoum
With his pace, passing ability and experience playing six professional seasons in Spain with FC Barcelona, Real Betis, and Unión Deportiva Almería, Wilfrid Kaptoum will add both talent and work ethic to New England’s midfield.
With the new year comes a new professional and amazing challenge😊 ⚽️— Wilfrid Kaptoum (@Kaptoum5) December 23, 2020
Thank you @NERevolution for this opportunity to meet @MLS 🇺🇸 and your supporters @MidnightRiders @NErebellion 😉
See you soon #Boston 👋🏿 I’m ready!Come on Revs!! ⚽️💪🏿 https://t.co/Nw6iBAFkSz
December 23, 2020: Tajon Buchanan earns first call-up to Canadian National Team
After a standout 2020 season for the Revs, Tajon Buchanan was named the 2020 Canadian Men’s Youth International Player of the Year and was also called up to the Canada Men’s National Team’s January training camp. It was an exciting opportunity for the 22-year-old, who spoke with Jeff Lemieux about his excitement before heading to camp.
January 5, 2021: Matt Turner and Henry Kessler called up to USMNT
Matt Turner and Henry Kessler were both called in for the United States Men’s National Team’s annual January camp, as Turner joined the senior team and Kessler joined the Under-23 side.
Both Turner and Kessler chatted with Elizabeth Pehota and Lemieux, respectively, before heading to the camp in Bradenton, Fla.
Turner finished his USMNT camp experience with his first-ever cap against Trinidad & Tobago, but there will be more on that to come.
January 7, 2021: Revs sign veteran free agents A.J. DeLaGarza and Emmanuel Boateng
The Revs signed a pair of free agents in early January as they acquired defender A.J. DeLaGarza and midfielder Emmanuel Boateng, both of whom played for Arena with the LA Galaxy and jumped at the opportunity to re-join him in New England.
Boateng and DeLaGarza sat down with Pehota and Lemieux, respectively, to speak about how much they're looking forward to what is to come with the Revs in 2021.
January 19, 2021: Revs re-sign goalkeeper Matt Turner
After a standout 2020 campaign in which he set a new personal record with six regular-season clean sheets, winning the Revolution's Players’ Player of the Year award and Team MVP, it’s no secret that Turner has become an integral part of the Revs lineup. Now, he will have the opportunity to continue to grow in Foxborough.
“I'm thrilled to continue my career with the club that took a chance on me as an undrafted rookie from a small school, invested in my development, and gave me an opportunity to prove myself at this level,” Turner said. “I can't wait to continue playing in front of The Fort, expand my work in the community, and hopefully bring a championship to this great city that I now consider my home.”
January 20, 2021: Revs and left back Alexander Büttner part ways
The New England Revolution and defender Alexander Büttner mutually agreed to part ways in mid-January.
“In the case of Alex Büttner, he’s going to be a father for the first time this year and moving back closer to home was to his advantage, so we were able to reach an agreement where he would go back to Europe, and we did that,” said Arena.
January 21, 2021: Revs select Edward Kizza and Francois Dulysse in MLS SuperDraft
As the Revs add two prospects in Edward Kizza (24th overall) and Francois Dulysse (51st overall), the duo will fight to earn roster spots after being selected in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft.
January 31, 2021: Matt Turner saves penalty and keeps clean sheet in USMNT debut
In what U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter called a “storybook” debut, Turner had only one save to make, but it was an unforgettable contribution as he denied a penalty kick to preserve a clean sheet as the USMNT rolled to a 7-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago.
In case you missed it, here’s the big replay.
⏮ to that penalty save from Matt Turner on Sunday.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) February 3, 2021
All of our available research says @HeaddTurnerr is the first modern era goalkeeper to save a penalty kick in his #USMNT debut.
Way to go Matt! 👊🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Mlo38vMwAX
After Turner’s USMNT debut, he said he was really proud because he “showed a lot of what he can do and can be for the U.S. Men's National Team.” Check out Turner’s full interview with Pehota as he reflects on one of the biggest milestones of his professional career.
February 8, 2021: MLS and MLSPA ratify new Collective Bargaining Agreement
The new CBA will be in effect from February 8, 2021 – January 31, 2028, and includes a two-year extension of the existing agreement running through 2027 with players receiving 100% of their compensation in 2021, including salaries and bonuses.
February 10, 2021: MLS announces regular season will begin on April 17
MLS will open the 2021 slate on April 17 with all 27 MLS teams playing 34 games throughout the campaign.
February 22, 2021: Players begin reporting for preseason on voluntary basis
Players began voluntarily reporting to Foxborough to begin testing and working out at the Training Center in late February.
📍 1776 Revolution Way pic.twitter.com/fB1pIcjbDd— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) February 23, 2021
March 1, 2021: Preseason officially begins
The wait is over! Players officially report for the start of 2021 preseason camp.
April 17, 2021: The New England Revolution kick off their 26th MLS season
Mark your calendars for MLS opening weekend!