FOXBORO (CBS) – The New England Revolution have a new head coach for the first time in 10 years.
Former New England defenseman Jay Heaps was named the franchise’s sixth head coach on Wednesday, a position he is excited to take after an 11-year MLS career.
“I am thrilled to accept this position,” said the 35-year-old Heaps. “Throughout my playing career and with my involvement with the team after I retired, I’ve made no secret about my commitment to the Revolution, and I’m honored to be entrusted with this responsibility as head coach. I’d like to thank the Kraft family, Brian Bilello and Mike Burns for believing in me, and in the vision I have for the club as we move ahead.”
After a 5-16-13 season, Heaps knows he will have his hands full in his first year on the bench.
“We have a strong base to build on, but we also have a lot of work to do as we look ahead to 2012,” said Heaps.
But he is confident the team can succeed, sooner rather than later.
“We’re not thinking three to four years (into the future),” Heaps said. “We’re thinking now. We’re thinking how of we add the right players and right chemistry to build this team from day one.
A Longmeadow native, Heaps is one of only three players to appear in all four of the Revolutions MLS Cup appearances. Upon joining the team in 2001, he became a defensive stall worth and helped solidify the New England locker room. He retired in 2009 as the club’s all-time leader in games played (243), starts (238) and minutes played (21,619) and the longest tenured Revolution player, ever.
“Every day, Jay set a positive example when he was one of our players: he gave everything he had on the field, no matter if it was a game or a training session, and then was a leader in the locker room and in the community,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. “We believe Jay is the right person to lead us as our head coach and we’re very excited to get him in and involved. We have a lot of work to do to prepare for 2012.”
“For more than a decade, Jay was as passionate, tough and tireless as any player who’s ever worn the Revolution jersey,” Revolution Investor/Operator Jonathan Kraft said. “During his Revs career, no one was more determined to win or revered for his work ethic and leadership, both on and off the field. We are excited that Jay will bring these characteristics, along with a keen intellect, to his new position as our head coach.”