New England Soccer Today

Revs to Sign a Designated Player?

New England Revolution chief operating officer Brian Bilello announced yesterday the team will be looking to add at least one designated player (DP) prior to the start of the 2011 season. With the Revs already eliminated from postseason contention, the team is hoping to prevent another season of disappointment next year.

“In talking with ownership, their priority was not just getting better but they want to get better quickly,” Bilello told the Boston Globe’s Frank Dell’Apa.

Finding a Designated Player who can contribute both on and off the field to the same extent of David Beckham has proven impossible for most MLS clubs. (Photo by Art Donahue/

Over the past few seasons the Revs have been without any real star power. The Revs lost star striker Taylor Twellman for all but 90 minutes of play over the past two seasons to injury and have struggled not only to find a quality finisher to replace him on the field, but also someone with his star power off the field. His $450,000+ not quite DP salary could be justified by his impressive goal scoring ability as well as his marketability off it.

Initially the Revs mentality appeared to be that to justify spending the $335,000+ salary required for a player to qualify as a DP, he had to be both the right fit on the field and a big enough name to draw fans to the stadium. Lacking that second qualification will no longer be a deal breaker.

“We’re going to go look for more moderate designated players that can help the team get better regardless of their marketing ability,” Bilello told the Boston Globe. “That’s a bit of a shift of what we’ve said in the past. We’ll still be looking for a designated player that can help us on or off the field. There aren’t that many of those guys out there you can spend a lot of money on and will bring in more money than you spend. The reason we haven’t had a designated player in the past is because we’ve been looking for that guy and there aren’t that many of them out there.”

In the past, the Revs have been reported to have gone after aging international stars such as Luis Figo, Pauleta, and Robbie Fowler. The signing of David Beckham set the example: a player who could both help on the field and guarantee sell outs. While no one has the star power of Beckham, the Revs were looking for a player that would do the same, if on a smaller scale.

That mentality was proving unrealistic for the Revs and with other teams finding success with lesser known players like Blaise Nkufo and Juan Pablo Angel, it made sense to reevaluate their strategy. The Revs are now hoping to do what it takes to find a quality, proven player that can make a difference on the field by the start of the 2011 season, regardless of marketability.

“What we’ve decided on is we’ll be looking to bring in a designated player this offseason,” said Bilello. “Our goal would be to find a designated player before the 2011 season kicks off, but it’s hard to guarantee it because we don’t have players lined up or signed or anything like that.”

Though the mentality has changed, with no potential players yet in view, there is a long way to go before the Revs actually make a signing.

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