New England Revolution: Signs of hope in Foxborough

Proposed Revolution Training Facility

Proposed Revolution Training Facility

(Courtesy: New England Revolution)

In the “nowhere to go but up category”, there was an exciting announcement that came out from Foxborough on October 15th. In case you missed it, a new training facility will open in the summer of 2019. It won’t fix all that ails the New England Revolution, but it is a good start.

As a New England Revolution season ticket holder, I’ll admit I’ve been critical of both their front-office and the Kraft family.

Over the past decade, they have played second fiddle to the New England Patriots. While construction of Gillette Stadium concluded, and the Championships continued to mount in the NFL, the “other football” team seemed an after-thought.

Robert Kraft has an estimated net worth of $6.6 billion and the value of the Revolution sits at $225 million, the 12th highest in MLS. Yet the team has the third lowest payroll in the league. There are now five players paid more annually than the entire New England roster. They have not made the playoffs in three years, with a roster that seems assembled by a drunk fantasy owner.

In short, I’ve been on the verge of mutiny.

So it was encouraging to hear that a new training facility will open in the summer of 2019. It has sparked some optimism for the future. A $35 million investment is substantial. If New England has any chance of attracting top talent, nice facilities are crucial. I don’t know any player that wants to hone their craft on an artificial surface in a football stadium.

It is this type of luxury that will create interest among players. It also sets the foundation for their academy program. But most importantly, it shows that maybe the Kraft family is finally starting to pay attention.

There is still a lot of work needed if the franchise wants to return to the glory days of the late 90’s. The Revolution are the only original team that does not have a USL affiliation (and one of only four in the entire MLS). The fans also deserve a new stadium. New England is the only original team that does not have a soccer-specific home. However, for all of that doom and gloom, for the first time in years, I feel a bit of excitement welling up inside.

It will be interesting to see what else happens this off-season. The roster needs a major overhaul, as does the front office. There is still much work to be done. But this investment is encouraging. As they say, ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn.’

Could this be the first glimmer of sunlight on a new day in Foxborough?