What did the Rev’s look like when Heaps took over? There are only eight players out of that twenty seven man roster who have remained with the Revs since 2011: A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney, Diego Fagundez, Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Bobby Shuttleworth and Shalrie Joseph. Of those other nineteen players who were removed from that roster, only two of them still compete at the MLS level: Benny Feilhieber and Kenny Mansally. Kudos to the Revs front office and Heaps for being able to recognize MLS level talent. Although there has been a massive amount of turnover, the Revs have managed to maintain a sense of chemistry and team identity over the past two years specifically—mostly attributed to the Head Coach.
Why was Heaps a good choice for the Revolution? He came in as a first year coach and didn’t have a concrete playing style. He wasn’t the type of coach who would profess “this is my playing style and this is how we will play” but rather adapted to the players that the front office brought in. Because of Heaps’ flexibility, it enabled the team to thrive based on their player personalities rather than a coach's predetermined style that is forced upon the team.
Lee Nguyen, Charlie Davies, and Teal Bunbury were all players who the Revs took a chance on. Lee Nguyen was passed on by the Vancouver Whitecaps and has proven to be arguably one of the best players in the league this year; his career has been revitalized by the Revs . After Charlie Davies’ horrific car accident, his soccer career was put in jeopardy, but he has since found a home with New England—without him and his four playoff goals, the Revs most likely wouldn’t be enjoying their post-season success this year. And finally, Teal Bunbury was recovering from an ACL injury that can be mentally and physically impossible to recover from. These three players have succeeded through Heaps’ management and have proven to be reliable in almost any position in the attacking characteristics of the Revolution this season.
Expectedly, most of the credit for the Revs success will be attributed to the players on the field and the front office for their acquisitions, but Heaps’ vital role in the Revolution should not be overlooked. His ability to adapt to an inconsistent roster and playing style is not an easy task to complete and he has done so efficiently. Be sure to tune into the MLS Cup Final this Sunday when the Revolution take on the Galaxy in what will be Landon Donovan’s last game.