New England Soccer Today

Offseason Notebook

Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis and head coach Jay Heaps observe a recent Reserve League match at Gillette Stadium. (Photo: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s only fitting that days after the Revolution wrapped up the regular season, Jay Heaps had his charges back on the practice pitch.

As an unapologetic perfectionist, Heaps believes in the “repeat until it’s done right” credo. So it only makes sense that he’d view the club’s offseason training schedule as another forum to improve the Revolution’s form – albeit in 2013.

“It’s an ongoing process,” Heaps said. “So anytime that we can get these guys in camp and start developing what we want (is good).”

Some of the areas Heaps hopes to have his players work on during the offseason slate: crossing and set pieces, both of which the club struggled to find consistency with in 2012.

Moreover, Heaps, who just finished up his first season at the helm, is expecting the next two weeks of training to set the tone for the 2013 preseason.

“It’s important that we (establish) a good baseline going into the offseason,” Heaps said. “We can keep them here (until Nov. 16) and start building that regiment of how we want this season to lead into 2013.”


Benny Feilhaber is a realist.

Even though the Revolution approached the 2012 with a fresh perspective – and a new head coach – he knew it’d be especially difficult to turn the club around within the course of a single season.

“Typically, a team doesn’t go from the bottom of the table to the top of the table one year,” Feilhaber said. “So we have to make another jump next year and hopefully pick up some players in the offseason and make a push for making the playoffs.”

To make that jump, Feilhaber believes that it’s not only going to take greater effort from the players, but additional work from the front office, as well.

“It’s a lot about consistency,” Feilhaber said. “(And) whether we can make our team a little deeper on the depth chart so we know we have more guys there that can push the starters and be able to cover spots when guys get cards or injured. That’s going to be a real pivotal thing for us next year. ”


Another player already peering into 2013 is center back Stephen McCarthy, who spent the team’s final three games on the sidelines due to concussive-like symptoms.

The onset of those symptoms arrived shortly after the Revolution’s 2-0 loss at Houston, and persisted enough to force the center back to speak with the training staff about it.

But McCarthy believes that the origin of the ailment came during a 50/50 challenge during training the week before.

“It wasn’t too much of a knock,” said McCarthy. “It was just kind of a feeling of being a little off. So we just took it slow and we took some time off.”

Although McCarthy said he didn’t have any “problems” with concussions prior to the season, the fact that he sustained one during the team’s Jul. 14 game vs. Toronto made him consider the consequences of trying to play through a second occurrence – which he believes could’ve set him back even further next season.

“It’s really hard to tell with concussions” McCarthy said. “You kind of have to be the doctor for yourself because you’re the only person that can tell if something feels wrong.”

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  1. Chris B

    November 4, 2012 at 12:54 am

    In the picture, it looks like Heaps is preparing Reis for a coaching role. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Do you envision Reis as an assistant coach for the club? I mean, he could obviously be the goalkeeping coaching, but I’m thinking he could be just a general assistant coach, focusing more on just goalkeeping.

    • Chris B

      November 4, 2012 at 1:02 am

      I meant “focusing on more than just goalkeeping”.

  2. Brian O'Connell

    November 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I’m not entirely sure he’s ready to do that, say, next year or even in 2014. But maybe sometime down the road, it’d be a good role for him. He’s certainly been key in Shuttleworth’s development, and there’s no doubt in my mind he could do the same for other keepers. Don’t know if he’s cut out for an assistant coaching role, but who knows?

    • Chris B

      November 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      True. And I’ve heard Remi Roy is a really great goalkeeping coach as well as college scout.

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