FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The regular season schedule may have ended for the Revolution on Oct. 27, but on Friday, the players officially said farewell to Foxboro following their exit interviews.
While some left Gillette Stadium safe in the knowledge that they’d be back next season, others – like veteran defender Flo Lechner – passed through the Revolution locker room for the final time.
“We’re very conscious of the fact that it’s not an easy day for a lot of players,” Revolution general manager Mike Burns said on Friday. “We take the approach that we’re 100% honest with players. We tell them what we’re thinking. At the end of the day, some guys are happy, some guys are not happy.”
For first year head coach Jay Heaps, the process of informing players who won’t have their contract options picked up is a reality that hits especially close to home.
Only three years removed his playing days, the former defender knows the uncertainty a player can face once the season’s over.
In light of that, he and Burns, a former player himself, carefully examine each player’s performances, and attempt to make an informed judgment.
“It’s a thorough decision,” Heaps said on Friday. “You have to be thorough in this process. The decision process is a fluid conversation through many weeks (toward) the end of the season. Once we were out of the playoffs, it was a long process of (determining) who is going to be here and when we were going to tell them.”
Telling a player that he’ll be back, of course, is not exactly a challenge. But saying goodbye to someone who gave his all is, well, another thing entirely.
“It’s never easy,” Heaps said. “But at the same time, we’re preparing for next year. We have to make tough decisions to get better and that’s what we’re doing.”
GUY LOOKING FOR ‘SPECIFIC’ ROLE IN 2013
While some said their final goodbyes on Friday, others left Gillette Stadium looking ahead to their return in 2013.
Ryan Guy, who filled in a variety of roles this season, chatted with Heaps about the future – and the expectations the head coach has for his versatile veteran.
The biggest thing that Guy took away from the conversation?
“Next year is going to be more about defining myself in a specific role,” Guy said on Friday. “I think that’ll help me focus on production. As a player, you always want to see your statistics and see where your production lies.”
Although the reference to statistics – perhaps, offensive statistics – might lend credence to Guy returning to his usual right midfielder’s spot, Heaps hasn’t told him what his role will be just yet.
“I don’t quite know,” Guy said. “I’m looking forward to just staying fit and finding it out in the preseason.”
CARDENAS LOOKING FOR ANOTHER SHOT
While Guy is looking forward to a defined role next year, fellow midfielder Fernando Cardenas is unsure whether he’ll be back for a second season.
Following his exit interview, the Colombian international touched upon the idea that he wasn’t given a full opportunity to showcase his talent.
“One of the challenges was not being consistently in the starting lineup,” Cardenas said through an interpreter. “It doesn’t give the players a chance to expose themselves or give everything they have. It doesn’t get to that point where they can demonstrate what they can do on the field.”
Another challenge Cardenas encountered this season: the departure of fellow Colombian John Lozano, whom the 23-year-old grew close with before the Revolution waived him on Jul. 1.
“We were more than just soccer players or teammates,” Cardenas said. “We were like brothers. It hurt to see him leave.”
Despite the setbacks, Cardenas knows there’s only solution to the uncertainty he faces in the coming weeks: Work.
“I have to keep in shape and whatever happens (will happen),” Cardenas said. “I don’t know if I’m going to come back. Right now, I don’t know. My agent will have to talk to the team.”