New England Soccer Today

A Season to Remember: 2002 New England Revolution Revisited

The 2002 Revolution squad march out for their first home game at cmgi Field, which would be re-named Gillette Stadium before the end of the season. (Photo by Art Donahue/

Funny how an idea can quickly take on a life of its own.

A little over a month ago, Sean Donahue and I were bantering about former Revolution players as we fired up the laptops, flipped through game notes and set up shop to cover the current crop, who were getting set to face Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium.

The first player that came up, of course, was the man of the hour: Shalrie Joseph, the longtime Revolution captain who’d returned to Foxboro sporting the red and white stripes. It was an odd sight, for sure.

Somehow, the conversation morphed into a list of players who once called Foxboro their home. There was Carlos Llamosa, who also happened to be on the Rojiblancos bench that night, serving as assistant coach.

From Llamosa, we moved onto Steve Ralston. Brian Kamler. Joe-Max Moore. Even the Immortal Chris Brown (not to be confused with the that Chris Brown).

Another Brown immediately followed: Adin Brown, whose 2002 playoff heroics delivered the New England Revolution to the doorstep of a championship. Not bad for a guy who started that season as the backup. And what a season that was. 2002.

Something compelled me to do the mental math. It had been 10 years since that memorable season.

“You know what would be awesome?,” I asked. “Catching up with some of those players and doing a series about it. Like a commemoration of that season.”

Sean agreed. We had to do it. Because we knew it was more than just re-visiting a team that earned a trip to its first championship final. Much, much more.

It was a story about a rookie striker who kicked off his MLS career in stunning fashion. About a coaching change that could’ve sunk the season almost from the start. About a local kid who’d someday set franchise records before moving on to become head coach. And who could forget about the amazing run down the stretch?

From there, e-mails were traded. Calls were made. Text messages were sent. Individual stories were floated. It was an ongoing conversation that Sean, Kevin Koczwara (who graciously agreed to join in the fun) and I continued until we decided that we were going to do this. And there was no turning back.

So we reached out to the players. We caught up with the people who were there. We flipped through the photos. We replayed the highlights again and again. We looked at the stats. We did all this until it actually felt like 2002 all over again. At least that’s what I tried to do.

For the next six days leading up the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 MLS Cup Final, New England Soccer Today will commemorate the accomplishments of the 2002 New England Revolution. Each day will feature a new story, interview or essay.

Of course, we all know how the season ended. We know they didn’t triumph in the final. But this isn’t about who the best team was ten years ago.

It’s about overcoming adversity. It’s about an unshakable bond between teammates. It’s about forgetting the odds and going for it. It’s about a moment in time that many won’t soon forget.

So get ready for a undertaking unlike anything we’ve ever done here at New England Soccer Today. What started as a small idea will soon take flight.

We hope you enjoy it!


  1. Jim Downing

    October 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I’m 100% on board with this idea. I think any critics would say that it is to soon to start remembering this team, but I think it is a great idea. This was a monumental season in the history of the Revolution & it sparked the only era of success the team ever saw (and is likely to see in quite some time at this rate, although things are improving). Great mini series!

  2. Brian O'Connell

    October 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the support, Jim! Personally, it was great catching up with some of the players about the 2002 season. You could tell that they still take pride in what they were able to accomplish that year, and in subsequent seasons.

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