New England Soccer Today

The dream begins

FALL RIVER, Mass. – Going into Tuesday’s Supplemental Draft, Providence College midfielder Andrew Sousa knew that any one of the 18 MLS clubs could take him. And he’d be perfectly happy playing for any team willing to give him a shot in MLS.

Supplemental Draft pick Andrew Sousa grew up in Fall River, Mass. as a fan of the New England Revolution. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

But, in his heart, he was hoping the call would come from one team in particular. And when he discovered that his hometown Revolution had selected him with the 42nd overall pick, it was clearly more than just an opportunity.

“It was a dream come true,” said Sousa. “They were the team I grew up watching. And now to be able to put their jersey on and help them win? It’s a different feeling.”

No doubt the euphoria that accompanies the possibility of playing for the home team is one very few professional athletes can attest to. It’s one thing to make it to the highest level. It’s another thing entirely to make it there with the team you idolized as a child.

Growing up less than 20 miles south of Foxboro, Sousa experienced first-hand the magic of going to the old Foxboro Stadium to see the Revolution play. It was there that he saw one of his first soccer heroes.

“Johnny Torres was one of my favorite players growing up,” said Sousa. “Joe-Max Moore was also one of my favorites growing up. But I liked Torres because he was really technical.”

Whether it was due to Torres’ influence or not, Sousa strived to mold himself into a technically sound player. But it would take more than technical ability for Sousa to advance.

Playing for Bayside FC, a youth club based in Rhode Island, the lanky teenager learned that he couldn’t rely on technical ability alone. He needed to get stronger. After all, if he was going to survive the constant punishment many creative players endure throughout their careers, he knew he would have to hit the weight room hard.

Sousa had four goals and two assists in his senior year at PC. (Photo courtesy Providence College Athletics)

“He committed himself to becoming stronger and more athletic,” said Providence assistant coach John Mark Andrade, who also coached Sousa at Bayside F.C. “He knew what he had to do to play at the next level.”

And so the Fall River native committed himself to getting bigger in order to play Division I soccer. By the time he arrived at Providence College in 2008, another coach took notice of Sousa’s relentless work ethic and dedication.

“He’s worked hard on getting physically fitter and stronger to match his technical ability,” said Providence head coach Chaka Daley. “He’s a gifted player. His upside is quite good. He’s just starting to reach his potential.”

That potential was seen often at Providence. As the club’s number 10, the creative midfielder often found himself leading the charge into the offensive third, finding open teammates and, when necessary, unleashing a golazo for good measure.

“He’s a playmaker,” said Andrade. “He has above-average technical ability, without question.”

It was that ability that put Sousa on New England’s radar this fall. In fact, Daley, a former Revolution player, made it known to Revolution manager Steve Nicol that Sousa was a player worth looking into for either the SuperDraft of Supplement Draft.

“I told Coach Nicol that he’ll fit right in,” said Daley. “I think he could fit into training in a short period of time. Sometimes, younger players get intimidated at the professional level. I don’t think that’ll be the case with Andrew.”

Sousa will be looking to earn a contract when the Revs start preseason on January 31st. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

With that in mind, Sousa hopes to blend right in with the rest of his new teammates through his positive attitude and work ethic.

“I just want to make a good impression with everyone,” said Sousa. ”Hopefully, get the veterans to like me and work hard. Basically, just work hard for the team and hopefully get into the starting 11.”

One particular veteran Revolution player Sousa is looking forward to impressing is captain Shalrie Joseph.

“He’s a guy I’ve been watching alot over the past few years and is a guy who you want to model your career after if you’re looking to play in MLS,” said Sousa. “He’s a guy who’s established himself. I’m excited to be able to get the opportunity to play with him and learn from him.”

Although he’s thrilled about the opportunity to don the familiar navy blue uniform, Sousa realizes that making the team out of preseason won’t be easy. However, Sousa knows he’s already made an impression, much like another former Revolution Supplemental Draft selection.

“They must have seen something in me they liked,” said Sousa. “Just like they did with Jeff Larentowicz, who was also picked up in the Supplemental Draft (in 2005).”

Sousa is fully aware of the tremendous work that awaits. But, he realizes it’s a journey he can only take one step at a time.

“My first goal is to make the team,” said Sousa. “From there, I want to work myself into getting some playing time. I want Steve Nicol to say, ‘I can’t take this guy out’ when I’m on the field. That’s my next goal.”

And that’s a goal that his coaches at Providence wholeheartedly believe is quite attainable for their former offensive dynamo.

“I think he’ll fit well into MLS,” said Andrade. “He’s not a little guy, and he can fit into any style of play.”

Daley echoed those sentiments.

“They’re getting a kid who is hungry and motivated,” said Daley. “Players come and go in MLS, but I think he’ll take advantage of this opportunity.”

For Sousa, it isn’t  just the opportunity to make it in MLS that has him excited. It’s much more than that. It’s the wonderful possibility of helping his favorite team return to their glory days that has him anxious to contribute.

“I want to help in any way that I can so we can get back to the days when the Revs were playing for an MLS Cup,” said Sousa.

That may seem like a lofty dream to some. But, if there’s one thing Sousa’s already proven, it’s that dreams can come true.

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