New England Revolution

Latif Blessing and Dave Romney excited for new opportunities after trades to Revolution

Head coach Bruce Arena adds two veterans to try and bounce back from down 2022 season.

Dave Romney celebrating in a match against Dallas FC. Matthew Maxey

Two key new faces were with the squad as training camp opened on Sunday for the New England Revolution. 

Following a season in which his team finished 10th in the MLS Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018, head coach Bruce Arena made two trades to try and get the Revolution back on track. 

On Jan. 3, Arena sent $400,000 in general allocation money to Los Angeles FC for midfielder Latif Blessing. Two days later, Arena once again dipped into his GAM pool, swapping $225,000 for Nashville SC center back Dave Romney.

Both players figure to get impact minutes for the Revolution who grabbed the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in club history in 2021 but failed to finish in the top half of the league last season. 

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Blessing and Romney have each racked up impressive numbers over the last few MLS seasons. Blessing, who is 26 totaled 145 appearances over five seasons with the club, and captured two Supporters’ Shields and an MLS Cup title along the way. 

Blessing’s best season came in 2019 when he started in 29 matches and recorded six goals and six assists. 

The Ghana native said that coming to New England will be a great change for both his professional and personal life. Blessing noted that during his time in Los Angeles he didn’t often see his family members who are still in Ghana and that the Revolution made it a goal of theirs to bring his family to the states.

“I think [the club] is working hard to bring them here,” Blessing said. “Probably soon I’m going to be with them. I’m working with the club. The club wants to help me to bring them, so I think we are on track.”

Blessing as well appreciates the opportunity for increased playing time under a new coaching staff. The midfielder played just 1,300 minutes last year, the least of his MLS career. 

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“I was complaining about my playing time [with LAFC], but every coach has his methods of using you,” Blessing said. “I’m happy to be here. I think the coaches want me to be here. I’m happy. This is my life, so I have to work hard for this team to have a great season.”

As for Romney, this will be the third MLS club of his career, spending four seasons with the LA Galaxy and three with Nashville. The 29-year-old has made 171 first-team appearances over those seven seasons. 

While it’s a new club for Romney, many of the faces he has seen around training camp so far are quite familiar to him including Bobby Wood who signed with the team in December and who Romney played club soccer with in Middle School.

“It was unreal to see [Wood], for us to get to play together again, we were really, really good friends in like eighth grade and then he got shipped off to Germany and we were all just like, ‘wow, Bobby’s the golden child and we’re just never going to see him again,’ so for us to get to be teammates again, it’s honestly surreal,” Romney said. “Then I know [Matt] Polster, I know Ema [Boateng], Omar [Gonzalez], I got to play with him in LA, and so it’s been fun getting a reunion with a lot of friends and teammates I’ve had in the past.”

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Blessing and Romney will get their first chances for real game action in the preseason opener for the Revolution, which will take place on Feb. 2 against Inter Miami at the Premier Sports Complex.

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