BOSTON- The Revolution made a series of roster moves on Friday.
The club picked up contract options on 11 players, declined nine contracts, waived three, and let contracts expire on three others. Four players were under contract already.
“After every season, we have to take a hard look at our roster and make some very difficult decisions, both for personnel and salary budget considerations,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a statement.
“In our case, we’ll continue discussions with some of the out-of-contract and declined-option players in the hope they will return to the club next year."
“Just because a player’s contract option is not picked up or he’s out of contract, does not mean that he won’t be back,” said Burns. “That’s just part of the process.”
The Revolution picked up contract options on goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, defenders Jose Goncalves, Stephen McCarthy, AJ Soares, and O'Brian Woodbine, midfielders Scott Caldwell, Andy Dorman, and Lee Nguyen, plus forwards Jerry Bengston, Dimitry Imbongo, and Saer Sene.
Goncalves, who spent last season on loan from Switzerland's FC Sion, has been purchased and is now a permanent member of the Revolution's roster. He was an integral part of a back line that accumulated 14 shutouts and combined for the third-best defense in the league.
“With what he provided us on and off the field this year, we’re looking forward to him returning,” said Burns. “We’re certainly glad that we were able to acquire him on a permanent basis.”
The four players who were already under contract are Diego Fagundez, Andrew Farrell, Kelyn Rowe, and Chris Tierney. Each of those players established themselves as regular starters last year. Fagundez led team scoring (13), Rowe led team assists (8), Farrell was a mainstay at right back, and Tierney continued to be one of the team's best crossers.
The nine players who had contract options declined were forwards Chad Barrett and Charlie Davies, midfielders Clyde Simms, Juan Toja, Ryan Guy, and Donnie Smith, defender Tyler Polak, and goalkeepers Matt Reis and Luis Soffner.
This move could set the stage for Reis to announce his retirement.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with Matt from the coaches to the front office,” said Burns. “I think it would probably be more appropriate – at the appropriate time – for Matt to address his situation. He was not an easy one for us, but we made a decision to not exercise the option. But there’s obviously a lot more to it than that.”
Barrett's six-figure salary was high for a forward who only scored two goals and spent most of his time coming off the bench. Simms, Guy, and Smith were all superfluous additions to the midfield. Toja's $295,000 guaranteed compensation ate up a huge chunk of salary cap space, especially since he didn't play after Aug. 4. Polak spent most of the season with the club's affiliate in Rochester and didn't look like a future contributor to the first team. Soffner could still find his way back next year, too.
Davies joined the Revolution mid-season on loan from Randers and could still return next season.
“Charlie’s a player that we would like to have return to us, but [his situation] is a little bit more complicated than some other ones that may have been a little bit more straightforward,” said Burns. “We are working and [we’re] in the process to hopefully have him back in a Revs uniform next year.”
Out of contract are Juan Agudelo, Darrius Barnes and Kevin Alston. Agudelo just had his work permit denied in England, which means he would likely return to the Revolution if he chose to stay in MLS. However, he does have other options in Europe.
“I’m sure at the moment Juan has an awful lot on his plate and going through his head after having heard the news about his work permit being rejected,” Burns said. “If he’s interested in returning, then he’s a player we would absolutely welcome back and welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with him about returning to New England.”
Barnes and Alston were key depth pieces for the Revolution, especially at the end of this season, but were never consistent starters.
The three players waived were defender Bilal Duckett, midfielder Gabe Latigue, and forward Matt Horth. Those players are available for selection in the Waiver Draft, which takes place on Monday, Nov. 25.
“We’ve been steadily adding pieces to our club and after showing some improvement this year, we’ve retained a core group of players for next season. We’ll continue to try to strengthen the team this off-season through more signings and the various drafts,” Burns continued.
The Revolution could add new players as soon as Monday through the Waiver Draft. There's also the Re-Entry draft in December, College Drafts in January, plus in-league trades to sign more players. Burns and Head Coach Jay Heaps are currently on an international scouting trip, which means foreign talent could be on its way, too.
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