The Revolution Academy took a lot of heat early in 2018. After going 0-0-3 in the Premier Division and 0-0-6 in Generation Adidas Qualifying with a -28 goal differential, and losing two games by a seven goal margin, people took notice. Fans took to Twitter to point out all the embarrassment and disuse of the Revolution Academy. This indirectly and directly sparked Team President Brian Bellielo to start the discussion on improving the academy. While we will never be sure if the backlash caused the Revs to make changes, adjustments were made either way.
So far the Revs have taken strides to improve the academy since their devastating results. Part of their work has included a new initiative that’s aimed at preparing the team for the next ten years. The club has also boasted that they spend over a million dollars a year on the academy. However, eight other teams also reported their academy spendings, and to no surprise the Revs were last.
Another new initiative was announced in April between the Revolution Academy and Hampshire United Soccer Club/Amherst Soccer Club. Betsy Hansen, a club representative, said the new partnership will definitely help complement HUSC’s program
“The design is to leverage some of the coaches from the New England Revolution program to complement and accent our current program offering. We have been very excited to add one of their coaches to our system this year. We have added Revs coaching at the U13 level to start, and are pleased with how the Revs coaching is augmenting our other professional coaches at the older ages.”
Why HUSC and ASC?
A big reason for the creating of the partnership had to do with a similar philosophy as the Revolution Academy. Betsy added, “One of the primary reasons we partnered with the Revolution Academy is because of the likeness in our philosophy. We focus on development first and foremost and want to offer the players a local place to play and build their skill sets to help them develop at the individual level as well as the team level as they age.” As Brad Freidel noted earlier this year, he and the Revs want to focus on younger talent.
As of late, the Academy has surged on most levels, winning a handful of games for each team. While HUSC/ASC doesn’t have any players the Revs are targeting, adding partners that occupy ages 9-19, talent will increase. The Revs providing resources will only help speed up the process and increase the talent coming out of New Hampshire. While HUSC/ASC isn’t a free program, it still maintains approximately 450 current players with a large age spectrum. HUSC and ASC will join New England FC (MA), Bayside FC (RI), and Valeo FC (MA) as a Revolution academy partner for the next three years at the minimum.
Scott Caldwell, Zachary Herivaux, Isaac Angking and Diego Fagundez are the only academy players on the senior team currently. A partnership like this can be very useful for the Revs who have the benefit of scouting talent in six states. This also helps utilize the state of New Hampshire and make sure talent won’t sneak by them. Up until this point, all four of the Revs’ homegrown players have been from Massachusetts and Rhode Island cities. State integration will significantly help expand their scouting pool.
As an opposition to other academies having one state to scout, some sharing with other teams, the Revs have an advantage. There has also been a recent talk about Justin Rennicks possibly deciding his future soon. Rennicks scored two goals on Saturday for the USMNT U20 team against Honduras. Rennicks, 19, has been the highlight of the Revs Academy the last few years before he left to pursue college. Since then, fans have been eagerly waiting for the Revs to sign him.
The Academy team has produced 47 goals and 53 assists for the Revs senior team from Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell in the MLS. With this partnership, the Revs are hoping they’ll be able to add on to those numbers in the near future.