KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 14: Roy Hodgson the coach of England talks to his squad during a UEFA EURO 2012 training session at the Olympic Stadium on June 14, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
With the 2012 European Championship in full swing and the New England Revolution charging headlong into the balmy doldrums of MLS's midsummer stretch, I thought it might be topical and interesting to take a quick look at the current and former Revolution stars who have participated in the Euros over the years. The early days of MLS featured rosters littered with former international stars (Roberto Donadoni, Hristo Stoichkov, one of the many South American superstars who graced pitches in the late ‘90s, etc.), and with the Revs also enjoying a long decade of relative success, I thought that it would be a nice trip down memory lane.
Instead, it was long, thankless research project that yielded almost no results. Surprisingly enough, not too many players who have donned a Revolution shirt have ever participated in a European Championship finals tournament. In fact, few have ever even featured in a qualifier. Out of the numerous former players who have worn Revolution blue (and red and white), only two players can honestly say they were in the team for the Euros. Their identities after the jump.
"Spider-Man" is the easiest Euro veteran to remember for any Revolution fan. Never a conventional or cool-headed man, Zenga joined the Revs as their starting goalkeeper in 1997 while simultaneously pursuing an acting career for himself and his girlfriend. He did well, conceding just 28 goals in 22 appearances. Although he did not return for the '98 season, Zenga reprised his role as starting ‘keeper in '99 while also taking on the job of player-manager. His time between the sticks was less successful, as he conceded 45 goals in 25 appearances, and finished his Revolution career with a 1.55 GAA. He is perhaps better known for his colorful personality than his play.
For Italy, though, Zenga was a stalwart of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, earning 58 caps and appearing in two World Cups. His Euro moment came in 1988, when he backstopped Gli Azzurri to the semi-finals of the tournament before losing out to the Soviet Union, who would go on to lose to the Netherlands in the final.
When thinking of former Revolution players who were good enough to appear in the European Championships, I'm not sure Steve Howey would be the first name to come to mind; indeed, many fans may not even remember him at all. Howey was a defender who joined the Revolution in 2004 in the twilight of his career. He made just three starts, and wasn't on the roster in 2005. He didn't score any goals, nor tally any assists, and generally had little impact on New England history.
It is hard to believe, then, that such a player was a part of England's Euro 1996 squad when the country hosted the Championships. At that time he was a constant member of Kevin Keegan's Newcastle side dubbed "The Entertainers," partnering the likes of Phillipe Albert in defense. Despite making four appearances for the Three Lions between 1995-1996, Howey's only Euro moment came in England's first group match, where he was an unused substitute for a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.
Honorable Mention: Edgaras Jankauskas
Jankauskas is a name that fills the hearts of Revolution fans with dread; dread that a man that big could be that frail, that a man with such pedigree could score so few goals, or that a striker with his height could be so incredibly bad in the air. Edgaras Jankauskas' two-year stint with the Revs was far from successful, as he managed just 12 league appearances and two goals, while spending most of his time on the treatment bench sucking up a salary of over $200,000.
Despite his poor performance in America, Edgaras is actually a living legend in his home nation of Lithuania, and he has done his national team proud on more than one occasion. He's been appearing for the Baltic nation since the early ‘90s, accruing 56 caps and scoring 10 goals. His most recent goal is what gets him his Euro honorable mention: it came during Euro 2008 qualification when he scored against the Faroe Islands.