New England Soccer Today

Camp Postcard: Day 1

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the first time since their 2-1 knockout round loss to DC United back on Oct. 28, the Revolution were back on the pitch on Saturday – albeit with a few notable exceptions, of course.

The club kicked off its preseason camp at the Empower Field House (formerly the Dana Farber Field House) at Gillette Stadium without the likes of Jermaine Jones, whose contract expired last month, and Lee Nguyen, who similar to Jones, was called in for the U.S. Men’s National Team January camp in Carson, Calif.

Nguyen will join his Revolution teammates for preseason camp shortly after the U.S. plays its two scheduled friendlies against Iceland (Jan. 31) and Canada (Feb. 5).

Another notable absence: fullback Kevin Alston, who had his option declined before he was selected by Orlando City during Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft. If you can believe it, this is the first Revolution camp without Alston since the penultimate season of Jay Heaps’ playing career (2008).

Other players who’ve also moved on since the credits rolled on the Revolution’s 20th season: fullback Jeremy Hall, as well as midfielders Andy Dorman and Timi Mulgrew.

Meanwhile, the lone winter addition to date – newly-acquired center back Sambinha, who was signed via loan from Sporting CP earlier this week – will join his new teammates upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa.

In addition to the familiar faces, the club currently has six unsigned trialists: midfielder Tyler Rudy and goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg, both of whom spent the 2015 season with the Revolution, along with 2016 draft picks Jordan McCrary, Michael Gamble and Femi Hollinger-Janzen. Rounding out the trialist contingent is former Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) defender Josh Phillips, who trained with the club last fall. Phillips played under Colorado Spring assistant Wolde Harris, a former Revolution teammate of Heaps, who apparently shunned the shaving blade this winter.

Heaps told the media following Saturday’s session that additional trialists will join the club in Arizona, but declined to go into specifics about which players will be invited.

The Revolution will stay local through Monday before flying out to Casa Grande, Ariz. for the first of two preseason trips to the Copper State. They’ll remain there – far away from the threat of blizzards and other forms of unforgiving winter weather – from Jan. 26 through Feb. 6. The club is tentatively set to play three scrimmages toward the latter part of the trip before returning to the Commonwealth for a week’s worth of training at the Empower Field House from Feb. 8 through Feb. 13.

From there, they’ll return to Arizona for the Desert Diamond Cup tournament, which runs from Feb. 14 through Feb. 28, before kicking off the regular season in Houston on Mar. 6.

Yes, Revolution supporters, First Kick will be here before you know it. But if one thing’s for certain, it’s this: there’ll be plenty to talk about and debate between now and then.

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