New England Soccer Today

Hall Answers the Call

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The fact that Jeremy Hall collected a team-high 134 minutes during the Revolution’s first two preseason scrimmages was somewhat of a happy accident.

Initially, Hall was going to split minutes with veteran Kevin Alston at right back. But after Alston picked up an ankle injury that forced him to the sidelines, the midfielder-turned-defender was afforded more time to get acclimated to his new position.

“It was good – just getting fit, and playing with the guys and learning the system and how we want to play,” Hall said. “I’m still learning it, and it’ll definitely get better, but it was a great experience. It was good first camp to get started.”

The fact that the former Toronto midfielder has embraced his new role is a testament to the scouting and research that coach Jay Heaps and general manager Michael Burns undertook prior to trading for him last December.

Though the seven-year pro had spent the bulk of his career in the midfield, he was granted a few opportunities to showcase himself as a defender in Canadian Cup action. And after looking at the film from those performances, the brain trust decided to make a move, sending a fourth-round pick across the border for Hall’s services during the offseason.

His arrival coincided with the departure of A.J. Soares, who decided to pursue his career overseas during the offseason. With regular starter Andrew Farrell moving over to center back to fill Soares’ spot, and Alston, a quality starter who’s battled various ailments in recent years, Heaps has put his faith in Hall to, at very least, compete for minutes in the rear – and, at most, make it his own.

“That was a position where we feel like he was going to help us,” Heaps said. “I think we needed depth there, and I think it showed that with Kevin getting a little bit of an injury.”

It’s still early, but the way Hall tells it, he’s starting to pick up the nuances of what the Revolution’s style of play. He’s starting to figure out what it requires from its fullbacks by focusing on his positioning and familiarizing himself with his defensive teammates.

“It’s just about positioning, and just getting in those spaces right, and just a lot of communication,” Hall said. “I think playing with Andrew and Jose (Goncalves) was good and Bobby (Shuttleworth), as well, so just familiarizing each other with our tendencies – it will only get better.”

Hall specifically credits Farrell for helping him get more acclimated to the role.

“I definitely talked to (Farrell) – I actually sit next to him in the locker room, so that helps as well,” Hall said. “We’re definitely forming a good friendship so far, and on the field – this will be my seventh year, he’s played a few years as well, so I think it just comes natural with everything, so as long as we keep playing together, and getting these reps.”

With enough reps in training, and more minutes at right back this winter likely ahead with the Desert Diamond Cup on tap, Hall is hoping that by the time First Kick comes around, he’ll be able to play even more minutes once the regular season rolls around.

“For me, it’s just trying to learn the system as fast as possible,” Hall said, “just so when we get into these games, it’s second (nature), and I don’t have to think too much about it.”

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