New England Soccer Today

Source: Nguyen “Extremely Unhappy” w/ Contract Situation

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Lee Nguyen sat out training earlier last week to express his displeasure over the organization’s refusal to renegotiate his contract, a source told New England Soccer Today on Monday.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Nguyen is “extremely unhappy” with the club’s unwillingness to rework his contract, which is scheduled to pay him a base salary of $175,000 in 2015. The Revolution midfielder is coming off a 2014 campaign in which he scored a career-high 18 goals, added five assists, and was shortlisted for MVP consideration.

Prior to his breakout season, the Revolution midfielder signed a two-year deal worth $175,000 annually with options for a third- and fourth-year, as well as a $40,000 signing bonus in Jan. 2014. The contract was offered to Nguyen with years remaining on his previous deal, which had paid him a base salary of $73,600 in 2013.

The attacking midfielder approached the organization about a new deal during the winter, but the club wasn’t ready to rework a deal that was signed only a year before. Nguyen contemplated sitting out training at an earlier point in the season, but decided against it because of the potential negative impact it would have on his status with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Ultimately, Nguyen delayed his protest until last week.

After sitting out the earlier part of last week’s training, Nguyen returned to the team because “he didn’t want to disappoint his teammates and fans,” the source said.

But Nguyen wasn’t handed back his spot in the XI upon his return. On Saturday, he was benched in favor of Kelyn Rowe, who went 56 minutes before Nguyen came on and, not long after, assisted on Teal Bunbury’s game-winning goal.

Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Red Bulls marked the first time since the 2012 season opener that a healthy Nguyen did not start for the Revolution.

Following the match, Heaps told the media that Nguyen was not included in the XI after missing training due a “private matter.”

In eight games, Nguyen has struggled to find the form that made him an integral piece of the Revolution’s first run to the MLS Cup final in seven years. To date, he’s only scored one goal – a penalty kick effort at Colorado – and collected two assists.

During the Revolution’s nationally-televised away match at Philadelphia, ESPN broadcaster Taylor Twellman suggested that Nguyen’s disappointing play might be due to the midfielder’s unhappiness with his contract.

Last week, teammate Charlie Davies offered an alternative explanation to Nguyen’s scoring woes.

“I think he’s had a tough start to the season because he came in a little bit injured,” Davies said. “At this point, it’s just his rhythm, it’s getting into a rhythm, and getting sharp. He’s one of those players that you don’t have to worry about his confidence. He’s very confident player, so I think in time, he’ll start to get sharp and find his rhythm.”


  1. pauloblitzz

    May 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    The lack of production isn’t because of the contract IMO. Even last year when he was an MVP candidate he wasn’t really hot until after mid year. I expected them/him to re-negotiate this past off season but it didn’t happen. If Lee was pissed (rightfully so) then the time to sit out would have been from the start not now. If the option is just a team option and not a player option then he should just play out the year and tell them he wants to be released or traded under a new contract/more money. Since he already started the year I think he should at least honor the contract he signed and play out this season.

  2. BWG

    May 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm


    Thanks for the insightful article. While I understand Nguyen’s frustration, I am glad the revs up to now are standing firm. It is the smart thing to do IMO. Wait until mid or late season and if he replicates the form he was in last year then consider it. I think fans are not seeing his performance last year objectively. He has been the player he is now for the better part of two years prior. It seems far more likely that last half season is the outlier rather than the other way around. i see how it can be upseting given bunbury and agudelo contracts which perhaps exposed inequities but lee agreed to his current contract (if it were about money he should have stayed in Vietnam).

    • Scuba Steve

      May 6, 2015 at 1:25 am

      If the club has given him a raise every year since 2012, and every year his play has gotten considerably better after the raise was given… Why wouldn’t you throw him a bone and give him another raise after the year he had last year? Even of you doubled him up; $350k is still an incredible value for a player of his caliber.

      • BWG

        May 6, 2015 at 9:45 am

        Because no one made Nyugen sign a 4 year contract, he signed it on his own. His play has not gotten considerably better every year. His play at the start of this year is consistent with that before about 1/3 of the way through last season. It is possible 2/3 of last season was the outlier. (Note I am not saying he is not a good MLS player, I am saying it is premature to say he is an elite MLS player). What’s wrong with the Revs waiting and seeing before coming to the negotiating table if his performance will be replicated?

        I believe he is underpaid but I also believe it is his responsibility as much as the leagues and the Revs. He could have left to return to Vietnam or he could have simply agreed to a shorter term deal and then renegotiated. He did neither. Nyugen knew what MLS was like when he signed the deal and the salary structure. He knew someone like Wondo went years despite all the goals without a DP type contract. I have no problem with the Revs being consistent with their players. Should Charlie not come to practices, he is playing well? What about Farrell, should he? This is the kind of precedent you set if you address and restructure salaries every time someone outperforms theirs prior to its expiration.

    • Tucksuck Bo

      May 6, 2015 at 5:17 am

      See yourself on top of the list ” the most underpaid player” for three year on the role playing for the Rev is not something you should proud of! After ten year with lots of experience on his back he don’t even got close to salary he got when he just 19 years old boy! Do you ever see the candidate for the MVP is got pay that cheap! He is the most consistent player on teams from the last three year! Why you don’t want to pay the guys what he should get and already know he can help the team than pay a lot more for someone you not sure ( Benny F. is ex. ). Last year we so close to Champion, this year maybe but absolutely need Lee Nguyen and JJ happy ! If not we rather wait for couple year more and if NE willing to paid a lot more for a top player and till waiting for them to adjust to the League ( Toronto FC is good ex. ) because next year without JJ and maybe Lee Nguyen ( The HAGL Club in Vietnam just put out there first Academy- Arsenal JMG, they play the style like Arsenal which Lee fit very well, to the first team in V- League, they desperate need a experience player to guide for those young guys, The Vietnamese’ Media point out that what they need is Lee Nguyen, The Owner, that guys is crazy will put big sum of money to who he want, just fire 4 foreigner player on the half of season, will go after Lee when his contract expire) with The chemistry between the player on Rev at this time is something that you can not buy! Why break it !

  3. Lap Nguyen

    May 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Skill alone can not make an athlete popular. People also judge an athlete by how much money he or she makes. Perhaps Lee just asking to give him respect. At least his salary should be in line with an average MLS player. He’s relatively getting paid peanuts. Just based on how much he’s worth right now, it is natural for people to under estimate him. True, if it was for money, Lee would have stayed in Vietnam. They are willing to pay him 7 figures. The down side about playing for a Communist government is that you don’t have opportunity to play at the highest level, which is playing for the Men’s National Team. Vietnam don’t have a real National Team. I think Lee chose to stay in the US and play for the MLS is because it is a stepping stone to advance him to the Men National Team. Clearly he values reputation more than money. However, people are thinking he is a cheap player so he will never be respected like Jermaine Jones and others at his level of talent.

    • Peter

      May 6, 2015 at 6:27 am

      The revs can b cheap in not paying soccer players????? This has been happening from day one .Look at dorman first time round he left to play in Scotland because the revs in Nichol era would not pay a better contract??

  4. Jared

    May 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Wasn’t Lee the team mvp 2 out of the last 3 years? He definitely deserves more pay but I think it’s partially on his agent for not negotiating better terms every time they renegotiated.

    But I can understand how Lee feels. Everyone on the team knows he’s the most skilled player and usually has the most impact. Can’t be paid below the MLS average when that’s the case. The Revs should step up or watch someone else scoop him up in a few years.

    • Peter

      May 7, 2015 at 6:38 am

      The revs do have a reputation of being cheap and not paying it soccer players over the years

  5. Tom

    May 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Can’t believe how badly they treated him after what he’s done for the club! With this type of attitude, they will not make to the final in another 10 YEARS!!!

  6. pottershop2

    May 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    He signed a contract extension that more than doubled his salary. Play this year and prove that you deserve another extension or renegotiation. One year of MVP type play doesn’t justify renegotiation. Sorry. It just doesn’t.

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