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Don’t look now, but it might be time to get excited about the Revs. I know; their game has been atrocious of late. Not to mention the accessibility of top shelf European soccer is increasing dramatically over the past 2 years. But as a fan of the game, and as an advocate of enhancing the American game (as I know you are)….let me make a case for the hiring of Jay Heaps as the new head coach of the New England Revolution.
The Revs haven’t had a coaching vacancy since promoting Steve Nicol to head coach in 2002. With the announcement this week, the team open some doors, let in some air, and – hopefully – will get rid of some of that gross, musty basement smell. Always a good thing.
After ending his career in 2009, Heaps left the Revolution as the club’s all-time leader in games played (243), starts (238) and minutes played (21,619). Heaps also holds the distinction of being the longest-tenured Revolution player.
Not interested yet? There’s a bit more to his history. Heaps is also a former member of the U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 National Teams…..and there’s a bit more.
Heaps played collegiately at Duke, where he won the 1998 Missouri Athletic Club Award as national player of the year (yes for some brilliant reason Duke is in the MAC for soccer. Talk about a collegiate sport that is effed up). While at Duke, Heaps was a stud playing three and a half years on the Duke basketball team. Under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, Heaps was named one of Duke’s “Top 10 Devils of the Decade” by the Duke Chronicle, back when that used to mean something. I guess it still does?
So the kid’s got Chutzpah! Have a soda and get excited! In addition to some actual talent, he also was the darling candidate of Revs GM Mike Burns. Burns just happens to be a Marlborough, MA native and Heaps just happens to be a Nashua, NH native.
Heaps accrued three years of collegiate coaching experience during his MLS playing days with the Revolution. In 2004, he was a volunteer assistant coach at Boston College under Ed Kelly as the Eagles went 13-5-2 and advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. But who cares about BC? Not me! He did, however, follow that with a two-year stint (2005-06) at Northeastern under Brian Ainscough in the same capacity.
Honored as the Revolution’s defender of the year for the first time in 2009, Heaps was rewarded for his clever and tough play with a call-up to the U.S. National Team for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He was also the Revs’ representative to the MLS Players Union when he was a player. That’s what you get for being a Duke grad!
Listen. He’s an expert on the Revs. After playing for them from 2001-2009 in 2010, Heaps became the color commentator for the New England Revolution. So he knows the team.
Is he going to be worth it? Why not? The Revs stunk this year. How can it get any worse? Two guys from the Boston area leading the Revs? I’ll get excited.