Pellegrini Returns From The U.S. And Trains With Estudiantes; Transfer to Inter Miami CF confirmed


Pellegrini passes medical tests; Estudiantes releases statement on deal with Inter Miami CF.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, July 23, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami finally has a player: Matías Pellegrini.

Per a communication by Estudiantes de La Plata, the Argentine club and Inter Miami CF have completed a deal to transfer 19-year old Argentine midfielder Matias Pellegrini.

Additionally, Argentine publication El Dia de La Plata reported Tuesday that Matias Pellegrini returned from the United States and was in training with Estudiantes today, in advance of the club’s opening game in the 2019 Argentine Superliga this weekend versus Aldosivi de Mar del Plata.

The same report states that in addition to Pellegrini successfully completing his medical exam, Estudiantes was able to complete the deal with Inter Miami, worth about $9 million, and potentially up to $11 million depending on his future performance.

Estudiantes de La Plata released the following official communication that confirms what has been reported: (English Translation Below)

COMUNICADO DEL CLUB SOBRE PELLEGRINI

El Club Estudiantes de La Plata hace saber que el jugador Matías Pellegrini pasó con éxito la revisación médica en el Inter Miami CF y ya regresó al país, donde se puso a las órdenes del cuerpo técnico de Gabriel Milito de cara al inicio de la Superliga.

El futbolista viajó a Estados Unidos junto a Diego Ronderos, integrante de la Secretaría de Fútbol Profesional. El joven surgido de las divisiones inferiores superó los chequeos y ahora se ultiman detalles para su transferencia definitiva a la institución de la Major League Soccer.

Pellegrini, quien este martes entrenó a la par de sus compañeros en el Country Club de City Bell, comenzará a trabajar en su nuevo club en enero de 2020.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CLUB ABOUT PELLEGRINI

Estudiantes de La Plata has learned that its player, Matías Pellegrini, successfully passed the medical check-up at Inter Miami CF and has already returned to the country, where he was placed under the command of Gabriel Milito’s coaching staff for the start of the Super League.

The player traveled to the United States with Diego Ronderos, Secretary of Professional Football. The young man, who emerged from the lower divisions, passed his tests and now the details are finalized for his definitive transfer to the Major League Soccer institution.

Pellegrini, who on Tuesday trained with his teammates at the City Bell Country Club, will begin working at his new club in January 2020.


Pellegrini started at left midfield last Saturday in Estudiantes’ 2-0 win over Club Mitre, scoring a goal that turned out to be the game-winner. Here is a video of that game:

Inter Miami officials confirmed in response to media enquiries that Pellegrini was in Miami on Monday to meet with team executives, but said they were not ready to make a formal announcement yet. These developments came while David Beckham was in Miami for a family vacation, and it is likely he was involved in meeting with the young Argentine winger.

Pellegrini Flies To Miami For Medical In A “Lightning Trip”

Miami, Fla. (Monday, July 22, 2019 – by Kenneth Russo

After playing 70 minutes and scoring a goal for Estudiantes de La Plata this past Saturday in their 2-0 win over Club Mitre in the Copa Argentina (Twitter @copaargentina), Matías Pellegrini and his representative Gustavo Ghezzi flew to Miami yesterday, according to El Día in Argentina.

Today, he will have a medical exam and meet with Jorge Más and Inter Miami team officials to finalize his contract. The self-described “lightning trip” is because “Mati” intends to be able to play for Estudiantes’ this coming Sunday in the first game of the 2019 Argentina Superliga (La Primera División) versus Aldosivi. “No me voy a perder ningún partido.” – “I’m not going to miss a single game,” the young midfielder assured the media. Pellegrini’s transfer is reportedly in the $9 to $10 million range, with performance incentives structured into the deal.

Once officially an Inter player, the plan is for him to remain with Estudiantes on loan until the end of the year, which means he can complete the revised Argentine Superliga calendar prior to joining Club Internacional de Fútbol for training camp in early 2020.

According to various Argentine media outlets, Inter Miami is simultaneously working on a $6 million deal for 19-year-old Club Atlético Banfield forward Julián Carranza, who would also stay with his club through the end of the year and report to Inter Miami sometime between January and March 2020. Carranza has reportedly already been to Miami and taken his medical exam, which was described as “demanding.”

Pellegrini played 70 minutes and scored the winning goal in a 2-0 win over Club Mitre Saturday. Photos: Estudiantes de La Plata

When asked about the status of negotiations for Inter’s first players, Sporting Director Paul McDonough told The Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman:

“We are in contract negotiations with up to six or seven players, heavily involved in that right now, with all levels of guys. We will have announcements coming soon.”

Inter Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough
Paul McDonough, Sporting Director

McDonough, who is in charge of building the roster and leading the team’s on-field soccer operations, also told Kaufman that the negotiations are complicated because some players require to be moved to another club on loan in order to continue to play during the next six months. With that come the finances that have to be also ironed out. Most often, players who are loaned out have their wages paid by the team that they are loaned to. However, in the end it’s about what the parties agree to. More importantly, Inter Miami must also work within the confines of MLS’ salary budget universe, where each player is assigned a “Salary Budget Charge,” the maximum being $530,000. There is also a limit of up to three “Designated Players,” whose total salary and acquisition costs exceed the maximum salary budget charge. Assembling the type of team that will electrify fans and get attention in Miami will require skillful handling of these considerations.

“We are in contract negotiations with up to six or seven players, heavily involved in that right now, with all levels of guys,” McDonough said. “We will have announcements coming soon. We’re close. We’d like to have between four and eight signed by September.”

Miami is in contract negotiations with six or seven players, and the first couple could be signed by July 31, according to McDonough.

McDonough is a proven expert at working out these nuances though, and it won’t be long before fans of the Rosanegra have real players to follow.


Related:

Reports Emerge Of Second Player Signing By Inter Miami CF

MLS Roster Rules

Deals Negotiated Prior To 2019 MLS Secondary Transfer Window.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, July 9, 2019) –

The following transactions were negotiated in advance of the opening of the 2019 Major League Soccer’s Secondary Transfer Window (July 9- August 7, 2019):

Columbus Crew SC

  • Acquired Costa Rican winger Luis Diaz from Herediano as a Young Designated Player. According to Jacob Myers of the Columbus Dispatch, the Crew paid a transfer fee of $1 million.
  • Signed 30-year old Curaçao National Team goalkeeper Eloy Room. The Black & Gold officially announced the move last Friday and Room will be officially added to the roster once the summer transfer window opens today (July 9.)

“We are excited to have a player as experienced and proven as Eloy join Columbus Crew SC,” Crew president Tim Bezbatchenko said. “Eloy is a talented goalkeeper whose leadership and shot-stopping ability will help strengthen our Club. We believe Eloy’s background competing at the European and international level will allow him to contribute to Crew SC immediately.”

Room most recently played for PSV Eindhoven from 2017-19 but was out of contract. He was a part of the 2017-18 Eredivisie championship side that qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Prior to joining PSV, Room played for SBV Vitesse of the Eredivisie from 2008-17 and spent the 2013-14 season on loan with the Go Ahead Eagles in Holland. Room made 169 appearances, 159 starts in the Dutch First Division.

He started 20 games in the KNVB Cup and played twice in the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers. The goalkeeper was an important member of the KNVB Cup winners in the 2016-17 season with Vitesse. During the run to the title, Room played in every match, helping Vitesse win its first KNVB Cup in 125 years.

Room’s should be a familiar name to those who followed the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Room started all four matches of the tournament for Curaçao, including the 1-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals. The goalkeeper made 26 saves in a surprising four-game run. Overall, Room has earned 30 caps for the Curaçao National Team, including nine clean sheets. He also featured internationally for the Netherlands at the Under-20 level.

Room’s addition to the Crew roster will be part of the plan to bolster the goalkeeper position after U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Zack Steffen was sold to Manchester City of the English Premier League in the offseason for a record fee. Steffen won the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award. Steffen made his final appearance for Columbus in 2-2 draw with New York City FC on June 1.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

  • Reached a deal to make Iraqi left-back Ali Adnan‘s loan a permanent move from Serie A Club Udinese.

The multi-million dollar transaction sets a new record for the fullback position. Although the exact figure is unknown, it is thought that the the transfer fee is somewhere in the vicinity of $2-2.5 Million USD. The new contract runs through the end of the 2021 season, with an option for 2022. Adnan will now occupy a Designated Player slot for Vancouver. He was unable to feature for the club last weekend due to a gap in his initial loan expiring on June 30th and the transfer window opening today, at which point he is now once again eligible.

Part of what made the Ali Adnan move possible was the “buying down” of Joaquin Ardaiz’s Young Designated Player contract,which freed up a Designated Player Spot that the Whitecaps could then use on Adnan.

“Ali has been a great addition to our club since arriving in March” said Marc Dos Santos “He understands our defensive principles and has an incredible ability to join the attack, create in the last third, which is very important for teams that want to have an impact offensively using their fullbacks.”

FC Cincinnati

  • Acquired centre-back Maikel van der Werff.

Van der Werfff was acquired using Targeted Allocation Money (“TAM”). He will be added to the active roster pending the receipt of his P1-Visa and International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) when the Secondary Transfer Window opens today (July 9th).

Van der Werff, 30, spent the last seven seasons in the Netherlands’ Eredivisie with Vitesse (2015-19) and PEC Zwolle (2013-15). In the recently concluded 2018-19 season, van der Werff made 30 appearances for Vitesse across all competitions, where he scored four goals and added four assists. He has captured two Dutch Cups, one Johan Cruyff Shield and most recently wore the captain’s armband for Vitesse for parts of the 2018-19 season. A native of Hoorn, Netherlands, van der Werff will occupy an international roster spot on FC Cincinnati’s roster.

“We are pleased to be able to add a quality player and we’d like to welcome Maikel to FC Cincinnati,” FC Cincinnati General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “He brings a high level of experience and leadership to our backline and will be an excellent addition as we solidify our style of play. We look forward to integrating Maikel with our current group and eagerly anticipate his future as an FC Cincinnati player.”

“I’m very happy and proud with this move to FC Cincinnati,” van der Werff said. “I was able to visit for the match against the LA Galaxy and the atmosphere was great. I’m looking forward to playing and being part of this team.”

Van der Werff has a combined 247 first-team appearances, including 207 starts, during the course of his 11 professional seasons in the Netherlands. He has scored 23 goals and added 19 assists across all competitions with Vitesse, PEC Zwolle and Dutch second-tier side FC Volendam (2008-13).

FC Dallas

  • Acquired Ghanian winger Edwin Gyasi.

Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia agreed to loan winger Edwin Gyasi to FC Dallas with an option to buy for the MLS side. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to Ghanaian parents, the Ghanaian midfielder has 5 caps for the Ghana National Team. He made his senior debut for the Black Stars on Sept. 5, 2017, and scored his first international goal in a World Cup Qualifier versus Egypt on Nov. 12, 2017.

Edwin Gyasi

Gyasi, 27, has played for De Graafschap, FC Twente, Roda JC, and Aalesund as well as other clubs during his career prior to joining CSKA Sofia. Gyasi played more than 50 games for Sofia, scoring 6 goals and adding 10 assists.

FC Dallas used Targeted Allocation Money (“TAM”) to complete the loan deal. He will be eligible to add to Dallas’ roster pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.

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2019 💫 Lets do it ⚽️

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Atlanta United FC

  • Signed former US youth national team star Emerson Hyndman.

Atlanta signed former US youth national team star Emerson Hyndman on a loan from AFC Bournemouth of the English Premier League. Atlanta has the option to purchase at the end of this season.

Hyndman was part of the FC Dallas Youth Academy. Atlanta acquired Hyndman’s Discovery Rights from Dallas in exchange for an international roster slot in 2019 and 2020 and $200,000 in General Allocation Money.

The 23-year-old began his professional career with Fulham Football Club in 2014 and played two seasons in London with the English Championship side before moving up to the Premier League with Bournemouth in 2016. However, his career with the Cherries never materialized and he played in just eight games for the club.

Hyndman was loaned by Bournemouth to Glasgow Rangers in 2016-17 and Hibernian in 2018-19, playing a total of 36 games in Scotland, with five goals and four assists.

Hyndman has two appearances for the U.S. men’s national team.

“We’re excited to bring a talented young player like Emerson in to bolster our midfield,” club vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a prepared statement. “In addition to his technical, on-the-ball abilities, he performed well in two physically demanding leagues in the Scottish Premiership and English Championship.”

Atlanta manager Frank de Boer has said any player he signs is expected to be able to contribute right away. Thus, expect Hyndman to join the rotation with Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe, Eric Remedi and Jeff Larentowicz as a box-to-box player. He is eligible to appear for the Five Stripes beginning today when the Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens.

San Jose Earthquakes

  • Added Mexican winger Carlos Fierro.

San Jose has signed Mexican winger Carlos Fierro for an undisclosed transfer fee, using Targeted Allocation Money. Fierro can be added to San Jose’s roster once he receives his P-1 Visa and ITC.

Fierro has previously played for Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda. The midfielder made 64 appearances for Almeyda from 2015-18 and 11 under Quakes assistant coach Benjamin Galindo (2013) while competing for Chivas de Guadalajara.

“I know Carlos from my time at Chivas,” said Almeyda. “I know him as a person and as a professional. I know he can help us a lot with his style of play. He’s a player that I can use in various positions. I thank the club and the effort they made to be able to buy him. Hopefully he does a great job, which is what everyone hopes for.”

Carlos Fierro

Fierro, 24, has been a part of several trophy-winning teams in his native Mexico, helping his former clubs claim a trio of Copa MX titles (2015, 2016, 2017) and one Liga MX championship (2017).

In addition to club success, Fierro has made significant contributions to Mexico’s youth level national teams, having been a selection at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels, scoring four goals in 14 total appearances. He was a key player for Mexico at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where Mexico finished with a perfect 7-0-0 record and became the first host nation to win that championship. Fierro scored twice in the Group Stage, the game-winning goal in the Round of 16, and the game-winning goal in the Quarterfinals to earn the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third most outstanding player. He later helped Mexico win the 2013 Concacaf U-20 Championship with a perfect 6-0-0 record, including a 3-1 victory over the United States in the Final.

Fierro most recently played for Monarcas Morelia of Mexico’s Liga MX on loan from Cruz Azul. During his one year with Morelia, the midfielder scored one goal and contributed four assists in 32 appearances across Liga MX and Copa MX competitions.

A native of Guadalajara, Fierro originally joined the Chivas youth academy in 2008, later making his first team debut in August of 2011 at the age of 17. During his first professional season, Apertura 2011, he was the club’s most often used substitute. Fierro made 135 appearances for Chivas between 2011-15, tallying 11 goals and 13 assists and helping the club win the Apertura 2015 Copa MX Final, two months after Almeyda’s arrival.

MLS Secondary Transfer Window Now Open.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, July 9, 2019) –

The Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens today, Tuesday, July 9 and runs through August 7, 2019. Clubs are now permitted to register new signings.

Pursuant to FIFA regulations, in order to complete a signing, loan or transfer, an MLS club must request an International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) from the national association where the player was last registered. For example, a player being transferred from Real Betis to an MLS side would need an ITC issued by the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF). This is known as the International Clearance Process. (See more at kennethrusso.com/fifa-regulations-on-the-transfer-of-players/)

A team may have negotiated and completed a deal prior to the transfer window; receipt of a player’s ITC is required in order to add a player to the official roster and for that player to be eligible to play in competitive matches.

A number of deals have already been completed leading up to the window. Deals completed

Intra-League Trades Also Open

Coinciding with the opening of the transfer window, the trade window within MLS for players once again is open, and runs until August 8th.

As a reminder, trades for non-player assets, including international roster slots, allocation money, allocation order slots and MLS SuperDraft picks, can take place any time and are not restricted by the transfer window periods.

Roster Freeze On The Horizon.

The 2019 Roster Freeze Date is August 30, 2019, at which time clubs must submit their final 30-man roster. Rosters cannot be changed from that date through the day after MLS Cup.

Reports Emerge Of Second Player Signing by Inter Miami CF

Miami, Fla. (25 June 2019) – Kenneth Russo

A report broadcast today by Radio La Red AM 910 in Buenos Aires (Twitter @radiolared) states that Argentine club Estudiantes De La Plata are close to reaching an agreement with Inter Miami CF that will bring winger Matías Pellegrini to the new MLS club.

The deal is reportedly for $10 million USD. Pellegrini would leave Estudiantes in February 2020 in time to join the Rosa y Negra for their debut in MLS in March 2020. Club Estudiantes de La Plata would also receive 10 percent of any future transfer of the player by Inter Miami.

Neither club has made any comment about the alleged deal. This is the second reported transfer of a player to Inter Miami. Last Friday, TyC Sports reported that Inter Miami and Club Atlético Banfield had reached a deal for Julián Carranza.

Link to Story here.

Pellegrini, who turned 19 on March 11th, is a native of Magdalena, Argentina. His primary positions are as a left winger and centre forward. He was promoted to the first team in August 2018, having been part of Estudiantes’ reserve (U20) squad prior to that. His first goal as a professional cane against Boca Juniors. He has made 15 appearances for Estudiantes this season, with three goals and one assist. He has logged 1,053 minutes across all competitions (903’ in Primera División and 150’ in the Copa Libertadores).

Statistics from TransferMarkt.com

If true, and if the report from last Friday concerning attacker Julián Carranza’s transfer from CA Banfield is also accurate, then Inter will have spent $16 million USD to bring two young, talented and promising players from Argentina to Inter Miami. It’s a pretty strong statement about the club’s desire to make an immediate impact in MLS during the first season. It also mirrors the types of moves Sporting Director Paul McDonough made in his previous role with Atlanta United FC.

While there is no confirmation either of this transaction or Carranza’s, it is relevant to note that the summer transfer window in Argentina runs from July 3 to Sept. 24, 2019. Also, for MLS, the secondary transfer window is from July 9 to Aug. 7, 2019, and any deal, even if already agreed to, would generally not be announced until the window is open.

Here are clips from a recent game Pellegrini played for Estudiantes against Racing and a longer video featuring some of the player’s highlights from this season:

Update: Friday, July 12, 2019: Argentine sports media outlet TyC Sports continues to report that Pellegrini’s signing could be announced quickly and that the deal includes performance objectives that, if met, could make the deal worth $13 million dollars to Estudiantes de la Plata.

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Según un reporte ayer de TyC Sports (🇦🇷), Estudiantes de la Plata avanza con la multimillonaria venta de Matías Pellegrini al Inter de Miami, que quiere desembolsar millones de dólares para quedarse con él. El juvenil de 19 años del Pincharrata, con solamente 23 partidos en el primer equipo, no tardó en despertar el interés del fútbol del exterior, y Inter Miami estaba atento. El volante por izquierda podría dejarle al club cerca de 13 millones de dólares con su partida al nuevo equipo de la MLS, propiedad de David Beckham, que empieza en la cancha por primera vez la temporada que viene. Estudiantes y Inter Miami podría cerrarse en breve una operación que, con las variables por objetivos, se acercaría a los 13 millones de dólares. Quede sintonizado aquí y clique en el bio para más. | According to a report yesterday from Argentina, Estudiantes de La Plata are advancing on the multimillion dollar sale of Matías Pellegrini to Inter Miami CF, who are ready to spend millions in order to acquire him. The 19-year-old from Pincharrata has played only 23 games on the first team but hasn’t delayed in attracting the interests of those outside of his country, with Inter Miami being very attentive. The left-winger would be able to bring to Estudiantes around $13 million with his departure for the new MLS club co-owned by David Beckham that takes the pitch for the first time next season. Estudiantes and Inter Miami can shortly close a deal that, with performances incentives could approach $13 million USD. #transferencia #MLS #InterMiamiCF #comunicaciones #transfer #Estudiantes #Pellegrini #soccerbusiness

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New England Revolution hire Bruce Arena In Effort To Gain Relevance and Accountability.

Miami, Fla. (May 14, 2019)

The New England Revolution have appointed Bruce Arena the club’s sporting director and head coach, effective immediately. Arena is the winningest coach in United States Men’s National Team history and a five-time MLS Cup champion. He brings more than four decades of coaching experience at the international and domestic levels to the Revolution.

“Bruce is one of the most successful coaches in American soccer history, and we feel his commitment to excellence, track record of winning championships in Major League Soccer, as well as his success at the international level, makes him the best person to bring the Revolution back to MLS Cup contention,” Revolution Investor/Operator Robert Kraft said. “We have known Bruce dating back to the advent of MLS, and we have full confidence that he will raise the level of our club to the standard we all expect and demand.”

“It was evident when talking with Bruce that we share a vision for the future of the Revolution and we look forward to having him oversee our soccer organization,” Revolution President Brian Bilello said. “We believe that now is the time for a change in leadership and there is no one better suited to usher in a new era of success in New England.”

Backdrop To Arena’s Hiring

(Note: Includes edits and portions of reprinted article in The Athletic by Sam Stejskal)

After a 5-0 blowout loss to the Chicago Fire last Wednesday, May 8, the New England Revolution fired head coach Brad Friedel the next day.

He wasn’t the only problem plaguing the Revs. New England is a prime example of how not to succeed in today’s Major League Soccer.

Friedel was just 46 games into his tenure as head coach. The defeat was a good encapsulation of the myriad of problems that the former U.S. international faced in New England. The Revs had nothing in the way of attacking ideas, failed to finish the few opportunities they did create and made a slew of basic individual errors in defence to allow a five-spot against a Chicago team that had been shutout in three straight games heading into Wednesday’s match.

The loss was New England’s second consecutive five-goal defeat, dropped the Revs to 2-8-2 on the season and pushed their goal differential to a staggering -19. It was a pathetic performance, the type of game where you could almost see the players quit on their coach. 

New England was justified in their decision to dismiss Friedel, but things won’t meaningfully improve for the Revs just because they’re changing managers. Even the soccer equivalent of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, the man who’s led Revs owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft to so much NFL glory over the years, would have a hard time fixing the myriad issues that come with how his bosses run their MLS team. 

The Revs don’t spend on their first team and don’t pay transfer fees.

The Revs don’t spend on their first team and don’t pay transfer fees. They’ve been in the bottom half of the league in payroll in six of the last eight seasons and have ranked in the bottom three in three of those years. Being cheap makes it difficult to build a consistent winner in MLS, but it doesn’t make it impossible. As Kansas City, Dallas and Columbus have shown in recent seasons, low-budget clubs can thrive when they make smart signings, hire astute coaches and invest in youth development. New England has done none of those things under General Manager Mike Burns, who, despite mostly subpar results, has been with the club since 2005 and in his current position since November 2011. 

It’s telling that Burns’ most impactful signing — Jermaine Jones — happened almost entirely by accident. The Revs weren’t even initially in on the former U.S. international, as a source confirmed that the German-born midfielder was seriously negotiating only with the Chicago Fire when he began talks to join the league following the 2014 World Cup. New England worked themselves into the picture in the latter stages, and the league eventually decided that they’d assign Jones to either New England or Chicago via blind draw. Commissioner Don Garber picked the Revs’ name out of an envelope and Jones ended up in Boston. Seriously. That’s how it worked. 

Jones ended up teaming with playmaker Lee Nguyen to lead New England on a second-half tear that ended with a surprise appearance at MLS Cup 2014. Burns did an undeniably good job assembling that roster, which, in addition to Jones and Nguyen, featured veterans Jose Goncalves and A.J. Soares and promising youngsters Scott Caldwell, Andrew Farrell, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe and Teal Bunbury.

New England looked positioned to sustain their success, but they’ve gotten just about everything wrong in the four-plus years since they appeared in the final. Soares left for Norway as a free agent after the 2014 season, unhappy with the contract he’d been offered by New England. Jones was gone a year later, off to Colorado to help the often-lackluster Rapids to the second-best record in the league in 2016.

By the time Jones left, MLS was six months into its targeted allocation money era. Teams had been given the money to shop in better markets for better players. Some have used the extra cash well. The Revs have only fallen behind, having made a series of over-the-max signings that taken together are a cautionary tale of how not to spend. Michael Mancienne, Claude Dielna, Antonio Delamea, Benjamin Angoua, Luis Caicedo, Wilfried Zahibo and Krisztian Nemeth have ranged from mildly disappointing to utterly disastrous. Winger Cristian Penilla had a strong 2018, but he fell into Friedel’s doghouse over the last six weeks and didn’t even make the 18-man squad for Wednesday’s heavy loss. Striker Juan Fernando Caicedo has only been with the Revs a few months, but early returns have been middling at best. 

New England is one of only two clubs in MLS with just one Designated Player.

New designated player Carles Gil is talented, but he’s the Revs’ lone DP. Colorado is the only other team in MLS with a single DP on their roster. Fittingly, the Rapids, who fired coach Anthony Hudson last week, are perhaps the only club currently in a worse situation than the Revs. 

Meanwhile, the young core that looked so promising in 2014 has either left or stagnated. Nguyen was traded to LAFC after a messy holdout in 2018. Rowe had issues with Friedel and was sent to Kansas City this past offseason. Caldwell, Fagundez, Farrell and Bunbury remain, but none have markedly improved since the club’s run to the final. Part of that falls on the individual players, but some of the blame lies with Friedel and his predecessor, former head coach Jay Heaps, both of whom struggled to develop young talent and both of whom were hired during Burns’ tenure as GM.

The Revs have only finished in the top half in attendance once in the last decade.

Things aren’t much better off the field. The Revs have only finished in the top half of MLS in attendance once in the last decade, barely managing that feat when they finished 10th (average of 20,184 per game) in the then-20-team league in 2016. It was the club’s highest average attendance since 1997.

The Revolution, however, remain invisible in a sports-mad market, where each of the other professional sports teams have great popularity, long traditions, and constant media coverage. Some say this is due to the suburban location of Gillette Stadium, tucked away in the hills of tiny Foxborough, Massachusetts and actually located closer to Providence, R.I. than downtown Boston. But that cannot be the reason, as the Patriots have called Foxborough home since the days before they were a winning team, and even back then fans drove from all over New England to see them play.

Editor’s Note: Access to the stadium is easy and parking is included in the price of the ticket. With the crowds the Revolution draw in a 67,000 stadium, there is never a traffic jam. That said, the sparse crowds make for a terrible soccer game day atmosphere.

Revolution Supporters waving the flag of New England in “The Fort,” Sections 141-143 of Gillette Stadium

Despite their longstanding irrelevance in the region, the team’s business operations have been led by the same man, president Brian Bilello, since the 2012 season. Bilello, who has been with the Revs in some capacity since 2003, and Burns both have difficult jobs.

The Krafts don’t give the General Manager and Director of Business Operations the same level of resources as most of their counterparts around the league.

The Krafts don’t give them the same level of resources as most of their more successful counterparts around the league, and becoming a real player in the crowded Boston sports scene while stuck in Foxborough is a tall order when you don’t employ one of the best coaches and one of the best players ever to play your particular sport, as the Patriots do. 

But to stick with the same leadership in the face of so little progress, or, in the case of the on-field product, flat-out regression, raises real questions about how much the Krafts care about the Revs. To be fair, the Krafts, along with the Hunt family and Phil Anschutz, sunk millions upon millions to keep the league afloat when it was on the brink of going under in the early 2000s. They deserve credit for that. It shouldn’t be forgotten. 

But it’s also fair to ask if they’d tolerate this type of mediocrity from the Patriots. The Patriot Way works with Belichick and Brady. It hasn’t with Burns and Bilello. Would the Krafts let their NFL franchise languish for so long near the bottom of the league in payroll, results and attendance without holding their top executives accountable? If not, why on earth should they do so in the face of such lackluster results from the Revs?

There isn’t a good answer to that question.

All is Not Lost: Positive Steps

Thankfully for New England, there are a few ways forward. Better coaching and smarter management should lead to better results, which will naturally lead to better attendance in Foxborough.

New Training Centre

The Krafts are starting to open the wallet, too. They’re spending $40 million on a state-of-the-art training facility that will open at Gillette Stadium late this summer.

New Players?

They were reportedly on the brink of committing $14 million total in transfer fee and salary to sign midfielder Paul-Jose M’Poku from Belgian club Standard Liege before the deal broke down over personal terms earlier this week. Even being in discussions to spend that kind of cash on designated players and TAM signings should lead to better things in New England. 

New Stadium?

A real step forward would be to finally build a stadium of their own in or closer to Boston. Boston is a densely-populated, older city, and it’s not easy to find the land needed for such a task.

According to sources, the club is working on finding a soccer-specific home of their own in Boston proper. Two separate sources have gone as far as to say that the club is on the brink of securing a stadium site. One of those sources added that the architectural plans are near completion, and that the Revs would be ready to break ground on a stadium shortly after receiving approval, should it come. 

But the club has been down this road before. Too many times to count, really. Plans have been leaked, sites have been teased, hopes have been raised. They’ve all been dashed. Maybe this time will be different.

Editor’s Note: This is one of the many stadium plans in and around Boston that have not succeeded:

STATEMENT FROM ROBERT AND JONATHAN KRAFT APRIL 28, 2017
“In 2015, we were invited to put together a stadium proposal for the former Bayside Exhibition Center site. Since then, we have invested millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours to design and structure a venue that would benefit UMass Boston, the City of Boston and serve as an asset to the surrounding communities, with an operating plan that would benefit all local constituencies. We were committed to a fully-funded, privately-financed stadium that would have totalled an investment in excess of $250 million. There was also a full-value land lease to UMass that would have provided annual payments to the university. As is the case with any development opportunity, there were numerous hurdles to overcome and we regularly adjusted our plans to cater to the needs of the project. Unfortunately, and for reasons beyond our control, it has been determined that this project is not feasible to pursue on this site at this time. It is our goal to continue to seek development opportunities where we can invest in a soccer specific stadium that will benefit its surrounding communities while giving our fans and our players a venue they will be proud to call home for generations to come.”

Perhaps the Revs will soon build the first open-air pro sports stadium in the city of Boston since Fenway Park was constructed in 1912. The club would certainly get a huge marketing boost if they do, and the Krafts, per those two sources, would start to spend significantly on their roster if they build a stadium. 

But all that’s worthless unless shovels actually hit the dirt. Until then, the Revs are stuck in Foxborough. And while their ceiling is certainly lower there than it would be at their own soccer-specific home in Boston, they can still consistently succeed on the field and find a measure of relevance off of it while at Gillette. 

New Leadership

In addition to hiring a new coach and potentially seeking new execs for New England, to achieve those two objectives, will require increased attention, investment and accountability from ownership. It’ll require the Krafts to start driving real, long-term solutions for the Revs. 

It’ll require them to stop being the problem. 

In the wake of how this season has gone for New England, the club, on May 13, 2019 released General Manager Mike Burns.

“As an original Revolution player and throughout his time with the club’s front office, Michael has always been a terrific ambassador for the club,” said Revolution President, Brian Bilello. “His impact on the team and organisation has been felt in many ways and we are grateful for his commitment and service to the New England Revolution.”

With regard to next steps for the club, Bilello said, “In light of recent results and the team’s on-field direction over the last few seasons, we felt it was time to take the soccer side of the organisation in a different direction. We expect to make an announcement related to leadership of the soccer organisation in the coming days.”

Continue reading New England Revolution hire Bruce Arena In Effort To Gain Relevance and Accountability.

Inter Miami CF Enters Into Agreement with KIN

KIN Partners will be the exclusive sponsorship sales representation agency.

Miami, FL (Tuesday, February 5, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (“Inter Miami CF”) continues to make impressive steps in its development, now with slightly more than one year before it kicks off play in North America’s Major League Soccer.

The club announced on February 1, 2019, that it has entered into a contract with the London-based firm, which is headed up by industry veterans Simon Oliveira and Matthew Kay, KIN recently expanded into Miami and Oliveira, the Managing Director of KIN, has previously worked on Beckham’s other business projects. Among KIN’s roster of international clients is Neymar, Jr.

KIN’s role will be to identify and develop sponsorship opportunities for the expansion club.

“Miami is recognised as a global city with a mix of wonderful cultures and we cannot wait to start working with both the vastly impressive ownership group and one of the most exciting properties in world sports today,” said Matthew Kay.

The announcement comes within days after Inter Miami put forward plans to build a training facility, including a multi-purpose stadium, on the site of the Lockhart Stadium, previously used by the now defunct North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Given the transformational aspect of Miami Freedom Park, partnering with an international agency appears to be a smart move. Interest in Inter Miami CF has been high, and the home of the team, in addition to a 25,000 seat stadium, a public park and public soccer fields, will feature hotel, entertainment and retail space as well as a technology hub. It is a US$1 billion complex that will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city, county, state and school board.

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer