New England Revolution: An Off Season Update


It has been two months since the New England Revolution saw their season come to an end after a 2-1 loss in the first round of the MLS Playoffs to long-time rival DC United. Portland Timbers FC were crowned MLS Cup Champions in early December and boasted a crowded city parade no other MLS market would have been able to pull off.

Thumbs up to them. I am just glad rivals New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew SC didn’t get their hands on that piece of silverware.

So what have the Revs been doing in these two months?

The Jones Situation 

The Jermaine Jones saga continues as the club has yet to release any information on the status of Jermaine Jones’s future in a Revs jersey. The New England star, on the other hand, took the matter into his own hands to update fans on the scenario:

Following the Revs for almost 20 years, I’ve learned to expect almost anything from the organization. But I would be lying if I said I remained unmoved by the tweet. According to Jones, the Revs proposed a contract worth less than $610,000 a year.

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That sounds absurd on the surface for someone who used to be paid $3.05 million a year, and, admittedly, I too fell victim to this perspective at first. However, the issue does not lie in the proposed figures but rather in the initial contract.

Did Jones make great strides for the club? Yes, most certainly. Was it worth the total price tag of $4. 7 million? I don’t think so. The Revs overpaid for the USMNT star.

The front office expected a larger return from the signing after Jones propelled into American sports stardom with his wonder-goal against Portugal that summer in the World Cup. Injuries plagued his short tenure with the club, and although attendance rose, it increased well within limits. I have talked extensively about Jones’s impact and future with the club.

The truth is that the Revs supposed offer is exactly on par with Jones’s value. It seems to be an extreme deviation from his first contract, but it is well warranted as the front office simply got the figure wrong the first time around.

Wherever Jones ends up, he will be facing a six-game suspension handed down by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for making physical contact with referee Mark Geiger during the Revs’ last playoff game against DC United. Will it be served in New England? My short answer: No.

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Roster Update

New England native and long-time Revolution fan-favorite Chris Tierney re-signed a multi-year contract with the club in mid-December. Tierney earned a call-up to the 2015 MLS All-Star Game and Revs fans will be excited to see him continue his long legacy as a loyal member of the Revolution: a true novelty in the common brutishness of the modern game.

Making a return for his third MLS year is midfielder Steve Neumann. The club initially declined his option in November but were able to agree on a new contract that would see the first-round 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick suit up again in a Revs kit.

Although he mostly saw the bench this past season, he is exactly the type of player the Revs historically seem to develop – young, athletic, and skillful. It’s up to head coach Jay Heaps to boost his confidence by fitting him in a system that allows him to boast his abilities. This will be a big year for the youngster if he finds his place within the starting lineup.

Defender Kevin Alston was picked up by Orlando City SC as the Revolution declined his option and enlisted him in the Re-Entry Draft. Alston leaves behind a legacy characterized by grit and determination. He was one of the few that made it out of the Revs Dark Ages of the 2010-2012 seasons. More importantly, he beat his own illness and fought his way to recovery. Nothing but praise can be given to Alston for his work ethic and commitment to the club.

Defender Jeremy Hall also had his option declined and midfielder Andy Dorman is currently out of contract. Both players were eligible in the Re-Entry Draft but were not selected.

Revolution players Sean Okoli, Donnie Smith, and Zachary Herivaux spent the first weeks of December training with partner-club Sporting CP in Lisbon, Portugal. The three youngsters are looking to finally gain grounds within the Revolution roster.

Defender Donnie Smith spent the 2014 season with USL affiliate-club Rochester Rhinos where he appeared in seven games, and forward Sean Okoli is hoping he gets his chance to impress after a season a limited playing time.

Revs fans are most excited for Revolution Academy product Zachary Herivaux who signed a Homegrown Player contract in 2015. Herivaux made his short professional debut in a U.S. Open Cup match against USL side Charlotte Independence.

We all wait to see if the former student of Revs great Sharlie Joseph can follow the route of other academy players such as Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell. However, the kid is young. As fans we love to speculate about future stars, but let’s make sure Herivaux gets the space he needs to develop.

Next: New England Revolution: Time to Let Jermaine Jones Go?

In the meantime, we have a bigger problem to address: the backline. Does Heaps shift Andrew Farrell to right-back and sign a new center-back? Or do we keep Farrell at center-back and rely on Darrius Barnes to cover the right side?

The answer to this question, not the Jones scenario, will be the biggest determinant of the 2016 season.