Boggs, Murray earn return

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Entering the 2011 preseason second-year midfielder Zak Boggs and goalkeeper Tim Murray found themselves in an unusual position. The two had spent last season on the New England Revolution roster and, in Boggs’ case, even saw some time in the starting XI, but saw their options declined after the 2010 season, and were out of contract camp invitees as the 2011 season approached.

Zak Boggs has earned his way back onto the Revs for the 2011 season. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)

That all changed Wednesday as the pair earned – and signed – new contracts, assuring their return for 2011 season.

“We’re pleased that both Zak and Tim are returning this year,” Revolution Vice President of Player Personnel Michael Burns said. “Both are promising young players who have worked hard during preseason to earn spots on the team.”

The pair found themselves in the same situation many rookies do in the preseason: needing to impress to earn a spot on the roster. They did just that.

This preseason, Boggs saw a combined 214 minutes of action, a total eclipsed by only by rookie center back A.J. Soares, during the Revs three matches in Orlando, all at right back. When Kevin Alston, the expected starter at right back, went down with a hamstring injury just 12 minutes into the Revs’ opening match against the University of Central Florida, Boggs stepped in to fill the void.

While Boggs may be more comfortable in the midfield, he found minutes at right back last season in Alston’s absence. Alston’s recurring hamstring injury this preseason meant more time for Boggs, albeit out of position, but the move back proved no problem for the 24-year-old, who played college soccer at West Virginia University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida. Playing with different defenders and goalkeepers each game, Boggs and the Revs defense shutout all three opponents in Orlando.

Boggs, a second-round selection in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, made nine appearances in 2010, including four starts, before his season ended early after sustaining a concussion during training last summer. He appeared to have played himself into a key role on last year’s squad after scoring twice against the then-unbeaten Columbus Crew in his first professional start on May 8th until his season was sidetracked by injury weeks later.

Tim Murray will resume duties as the Revs third-string keeper this season. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)

Murray didn’t have nearly as much time to impress down in Florida, only playing the final 30 minutes against UCF, though he helped to preserve the shutout in the process. The Revs had brought in former Elon University goalkeeper Clint Irwin to compete for a spot as the team’s third goalkeeper, but after Irwin didn’t see the field in Orlando and was subsequently released prior to training this week, it seemed likely the Revs would stick with Murray.

Murray, a Haverhill, Mass. native, originally joined the club last April. He saw no first team action, but served as the primary back-up keeper when Reis and Burpo both suffered injuries at various points in the season.

The Revs have also offered contracts to unsigned rookies Ryan Kinne (Monmouth University), Alan Koger (William & Mary) and Andrew Sousa (Providence College).

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About Sean Donahue

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He has covered four MLS Cups, in addition to covering various international matches, including World Cup Qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has done freelance work for the AP and ESPN Boston. Sean hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters. Sean can be reached at nesoccertoday@gmail.com or followed on twitter @SeanLDonahue