The Pat-Down

I’m trying something new today. I’m going to write about Major League Soccer, specifically the New England Revolution.

I’ve been a fan of soccer since the late 2000s. I didn’t really follow any teams early on but I was a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was on the legendary club Manchester United at the time, then played on Real Madrid, and now is with Juventus. When he was on Madrid, that’s when I started really following the club more closely and have continued to support to this day.

One of the challenges of being a fan of Real Madrid is that they are all the way in Spain. So I’ve been trying to follow a club in the states. The obvious choice is to follow the regional identified team, the New England Revolution, but I’ve come across several deterrents that lie with being a supporter of the Revs.
First, the team is given almost no coverage from the sports media in New England, specifically the Boston area. I cannot remember in the history of the Revs, which have existed since 1994, when the club was mentioned at all on the two major New England sports radio stations, WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub. They do not get the recognition that any other sports team in New England does.

I really don’t blame them, as the MLS wasn’t relevant until European star David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007 and didn’t gain consistent attention until the mid-2010s. The Revs haven’t won a title yet, but they have had several opportunities to as they have made it to the championship finals several times, the last time being 2014. Since then, they have had very little success as a club, and left them behind many other teams in the MLS.

The other thing that bothers me are the owners and their direction. Robert and Jonathan Kraft are the owners of the team as well as the New England Patriots. The Patriots have been one of the most popular franchises of all sports in the last two decades, so it’s understandable that they wouldn’t be all in on the Revs. And to their credit, they have started to build a 35 million dollar training facility. But they still need a new stadium and players to make them contenders again.

Playing football at Gillette Stadium is a great feeling as it works perfectly when the stands are full and rowdy with the Patriots faithful. But when it comes to Revs soccer, the stadium is nearly empty, with only the left end of the stadium filled to an extent with the diehard fans of the Revs. Named “The Rebellion,” they have been strong in their support, but not to the extent that you would see from other teams in the league such as Los Angeles F.C. and Atlanta United, both teams that are new to the league and have really strong ownership that are passionate about the teams they own.

What would really help for the future of this soccer club is just to build a new stadium, which would give new life to the franchise. One big example of this was last year with D.C. United. They didn’t seem to have much life as a franchise, playing in a depressing football stadium. Last year during the midway point of the season, they moved to a new, state-of-the-art soccer-designed stadium. With the help of transfer Wayne Rooney, it turned out great for the club as they became a popular club to follow in MLS. I think the same thing could be applied to the Revs and have the same effect.

If I could go further, I would also like the Kraft family to be removed from ownership. They aren’t clueless as to how to run an organization. They have certainly proved that, but I think they don’t really understand the power of soccer and are too involved with the Patriots to give the full support needed to be at the level of top teams in the MLS. I don’t think the Kraft family would ever sell the Revs, so that’s really a pipe dream to me.

It would be nice for soccer to succeed in the New England region. Soccer in the United States is growing rapidly and it would be exciting to see something other than the Red Sox during the summer months. A lot of work still needs to be done in terms of the Revolution, and time will tell if the soccer club can become successful.