New England Soccer Today

Twellman’s Goal Scoring, Star Power Tough to Replace

When Taylor Twellman announced his retirement Wednesday, the New England Revolution lost not only the best goal scorer in team, and perhaps league history, but also its most recognizable face over the past decade.

Twellman quickly became the face of the franchise after arriving in 2002, filling a void the team had since the end of the ‘90s. In their early years, the Revs had players who were marketable both on and off the field in U.S. National Team defenders Alexi Lalas and Mike Burns, as well as striker Joe-Max Moore. But by the end of the 2000 season, Lalas and Burns had been traded away while Moore headed overseas to play for Everton. Suddenly, the Revs lacked a true star.

Taylor Twellman announced his retirement Wednesday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

“Early on we had Alexi and Mike,” said Craig Tornberg, who has worked for the Revs since 1995 and is currently the team’s Vice President of Business Development. “After Alexi and Mike it was almost like [goalkeeper and eventual coach Walter] Zenga became such a major figure for us. I think right after that and because the team wasn’t performing so well we were really desperate to have someone who could kind of put us on not only the sports pages, but somebody who could translate well into just society’s pages and find their way into the lifestyle pages.”

Twellman proved to be the perfect person for the job. Not only did he grab the headlines by scoring goals, but he also became a well known figure in the community, making appearances in the gossip pages, earning in spot as “Massachusetts’s Cosmo Bachelor”, being a guest judge in local talent competitions, and even turning down a spot in ABC’s “The Bachelor”.

Twellman took to the role as a figurehead and tried to make the team an even bigger part of the Boston sports landscape.

“If you think about when I came here in ’02 … since that time, I’ve [seen] two World Series, I’ve seen an NBA Championship and three Super Bowls,” said Twellman. “And it was after my ’03 year. My season ended, I broke my foot, and that year I kind of made a conscious effort. I wanted to get the Revs in the top four in this town… If we would’ve won one – maybe in ’05, ’06 – I think we [would’ve gotten] there.

“But under no circumstances am I the face of the franchise if we’re not winning and my team’s not playing well,” he continued. “So I was just really doing my job and thanks to my mom’s blonde hair, ending up in New England, they don’t have a lot of blonde-haired people, so they’re like, ‘We’ll make him the face.’ It was an honor to do it, but it was really just me representing the 24 guys in that locker room.”

While Twellman did his best on the field to help the team to unprecedented success and recognition in the local media, his efforts off the field extended beyond just turning into an identifiable figure.

“He’s given back to the community in spades,” said Revolution Investor/Operator Jonathan Kraft. “He was always talking to the people in our front office about what he could be doing to go out work with kids, go to hospitals, develop a presence for the Revolution and give those kids the dream that you could stick with soccer if you loved it and play professional sports in this country.”

The front office of the Revolution quickly recognized the potential Twellman had as the face of the team and put him at the center of their marketing efforts.

“Taylor had that little swagger,” said Tornberg. “As far as a person to be able to represent the organization: he’s a goal scorer, he’s a good-looking guy, and he’s got that swagger that goes along with that confidence level. As a result of that I think it was just a package that’s … really a marketer’s dream when you get right down to it. He’s done so well not only on the field, but also off the field.”

Of course Twellman would never have become so well known off the field if he didn’t have the success he did on it: the only player in MLS history to record 100 goals before his 30th birthday, fifth in total career goals scored in MLS, five-time MLS All-Star (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 & 2007), two-time MLS Best XI (2002 & 2005), and MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner in 2005.

“He’s just been a great blessing for the entire organization to be able to have somebody like him and deliver the goods,” said Tornberg. “[He’s] not just a marketable figure, but somebody you could also hold with anybody as far as his ability to play soccer… That kind of package is always difficult to replace.”

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