New England Soccer Today

New Trialists Join Revs

Björn Runström (left) is currently on trial with the Revolution. (Photo: Bildbyrån/Hammarby IF)

Swedish forward Bjorn Runstrom, Italian midfielder Luisito Campisi, German defender Florian Lechner and English defender Tom Cruise have all joined the New England Revolution on trial for the first time in Tucson, Arizona as the team is set to kick-off the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday night.

Midfielder/forward Jeremiah White has re-joined the team on trial, while forward Blake Brettschneider, defender Gabe Mercier and Supplemental Picks forwards Dawyne “Rick” Smith, Alec Purdie and Michael Roach continue extended trials.

Björn Runström, 27, most recently played for Hammarby IF, the former home of American striker/New Hampshire native Charlie Davies, in the Swedish second division. Hammarby is currently coached by former U.S. International Greg Berhalter. Runstrom, a 6-foot-1 forward, was also on the books at Danish SuperLiga club Odense Boldklub (2008-2011), English Premier League club Fulham FC (2006-2008), and Italian clubs ACF Fiorentina (2003-2004), A.C. ChievoVerona (2002-2003) and Bologna F.C. (2001-2002).

Runstrom has also had loan spells with Norway’s Molde FK (2010-11), Luton Town F.C. (2007), a lower division English club, and German club 1. FC Kaiserslautern (2007-08). The Swede’s best years came in his initial stint at Hammarby from 2004 till 2006 when he scored 22 goals, earning a move to Fulham for a reported fee of around $1.1 million.

Luisito Campisi, 25, was most recently on loan at third division Italian side A.C. Monza Brianza from Hellas Verona F.C. The 6-foot-0 Italian left midfielder appeared in 25 matches in the 2010/2011 season for Monza. Campisi has spent his entire career in the lower divisions of Italian football after going through Atalanta B.C.’s academy.

Florian Lechner, 30, currently plays for Karlsruher SC in the Germany 2nd Bundesliga (second division). The 5-foot-10 right back went through the youth system at VfB Stuttgart and played for Stuttgart’s reserves (2001-2004) before transferring to F.C. St. Pauli in 2004. Lechner played 10 games in the Budesliga (first division) for St. Pauli in 2010/2011, before signing for Karlsruher in the summer of 2011. In total the German defender has played nearly 200 games in various German leagues, including 117 for St. Paula.

Tom Cruise, 20, is a product of Arsenal’s academy. The 6-foot-zero center back/left back made one first team appearance for Arsenal, starting a December 9, 2009 Champions League 1-0 loss against Olympiacos after Arsenal had already clinched advancement to the next round. Cruise spent the 2010-2011 season on loan to Football League 1 – England’s third division – side Carlisle United.

Cruise has been a part of the England U-16, U-17 and U-19 teams and participated in the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. He recently trialed with Italian Serie B team Sampdoria in December.

Jeremiah White, 29, was originally drafted by the New England Revolution in the third round (23rd overall) in the 2004 Major League Soccer SuperDraft after scoring 37 goals and 19 assists at Wake Forest. White has played in Serbia with OFK Beograd, Greece with Panserraikos, France with FC Gueugnon Denmark with AGF Aarhus, Saudi Arabia with Al-Ettifaq, and most recently in Poland with GKS Belchatów.

The 5-foot-9 White has spent most of his professional career as a right midfielder and made an appearance with the U.S. National Team in 2008. White trialed with the Philadelphia Union in the 2011 preseason, who reportedly tried to sign the winger, but couldn’t agree to terms. He trialed with the expansion Montreal Impact in October. He has already appeared for the Revs in their 2-1 preseason victory over FC Tucson on January 29.

Blake Brettschneider, 22, played in 15 league games, including nine starts, for D.C. United as a rookie in 2011. The 6-foot-0 University of South Carolina product tallied one goal and two assists in MLS play, but in a surprising move the promising youngster was waived by United on February 3rd. Prior to joining D.C., Brettschneider had a stand-out senior year for the Gamecocks. In 2010, he scored 7 goals along with 10 assists for South Carolina and was named Conference USA Co-MVP and Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He was drafted by D.C. in the second round of the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft.

Gabe Mercier, 26, has played in reserve matches for the New England Revolution as a guest player. The 6-foot-0 defender who most recently played for the New Hampshire Phantoms of the USL Premier Development League, has also played for the Western Mass Pioneers, then of the USL Second Division. A Middleborough, Mass, native, Mercier played his college soccer at Southern New Hampshire University. Mercier trained with the Revolution on multiple occasions this past season and in 2010.

Brettschneider and Mercier both played for the Revs in their 2-1 preseason victory over Boston College on Wednesday, February 15.

For information on the Revs Supplemental Draft picks, click here.

The Revs open the Desert Diamond Cup against the Galaxy on Wednesday with kick-off set for 8 PM EST.


  1. Jim

    February 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    All of these new trialists have very intriguing backgrounds. Thank you so much for these detailed background pictures on each of them, these articles are fascinating.

    Honestly, if possible, I hope Heaps signs every single one of these guys. A very good mix of experience, youth, and clearly determination based on the backgrounds of some of these Americans.

    So far I like everything Heaps has done with this team. I have to hand it to him. He is doing everything he can within his means to build a young, competitive team. Do you think this Runstrom is the replacement for Moreno? Certainly looks it given his background. Glad to see Jeremiah White is back. Sign. Them. All.

    • Sean Donahue

      February 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks, Jim!

      While Heaps still says he expects Moreno to come, I do think he is looking at several of these guys (Runstrom, Brettschneider) as possible alternatives should that deal fall through as seems likely. That said, even should Moreno come, competition can only help. Runstrom is certainly an interesting option.

    • Matt

      February 22, 2012 at 10:13 am

      I agree with Jim, this article was very well done on informing us of the trialists. I’m not a fan of the Revs but I do like to follow what going on in the league. Keep up the good work Sean!

  2. Mat

    February 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Have to agree with Jim. It’s very exciting to see all of these new players try us out. It makes me feel more hopeful about our team and I think if they show any sign of promise, sign them! Very exciting times finally. Thanks Sean.

  3. over there

    February 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Intrigued! I vaguely remember Runstrom from Fulham. It’s nice to see solid, lower-middle class European pros looking at MLS, and the Revs seeing them as squad depth. All in all, could be positive (if the Revs don’t get cheap, which is always possible).

  4. Brian

    February 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Agreed with all above, all these guys could be of great use to the organization, let’s hope the FO will give Heaps the means to sign them all. More international flavor on the Revs could help, we’ve got the slots for them too.

  5. Nisseem

    February 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Good trialist for the most part Hope they sign most of them.
    Good work on the article Sean Donahue. New England might actually be decent but still towards the bottom of the east.

  6. Elias Hemmilä

    March 13, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Hi guys,
    don’t mean to disappoint you but from the looks of it Björn has traveled back home to Sweden with no intentions of signing for New England. That’s what the Swedish press are saying anywhoo.

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