When the New England Revolution traded away long-time fan-favorite Shalrie Joseph, they lost something far more important than any stat could ever indicate: a captain. With the club mired in mediocrity, and a fan base calling for blood on multiple levels, the time is now for a man to step up and lead this club into the future.
However, there's just one problem: no one has stepped up. Not in the way you truly want your captain to, anyway. Sure, a few players have put the armband on since Joseph's departure, but does that really do the position justice? Captaincy of a professional soccer club is an HONOR. It's a PRIVILEGE. The armband isn't just an adornment you throw over your jersey sleeve, it's a symbol of leadership.
Your team captain should embody everything the club stands for: integrity, leadership, and a calming mindset that stays true even in the most difficult of circumstances. Your leader needs to be level-headed, thinking only of the team, and how he can lead by example to ensure the success of the team.
It's time for a man to step up and accept the responsibilities. The New England Revolution need a leader. A rock. Simply put, the Revolution need a CAPTAIN.
After the jump, it's time to spark the big debate. Who should be the next captain of the Revolution?
THE OLD STAND-BY
MATT REIS. Reis has been the back bone of this team for years, sacrificing his body for the betterment of the team. Reis would be a fine selection for team captain, but the uncertainty of how long his career has left is what would worry me. Reis is certainly on the back nine of his career, and quite frankly might be coming down the 18th fairway, so with the Revs in a new regime, and heading in a new direction, it may be tough to give Reis the nod full time.
CLYDE SIMMS. Simms has worn the armband multiple times this season in Shalrie's absence, and certainly possesses the physical and mental tools to be the captain. The only negative regarding his candidacy for the captainship? He's been a Rev for half a season. It's tough to command the locker room when you're one of the new guys, but to tell you the truth, when you look at the players interact with him either in person, or via social media, it's plain to see he's earned the respect very quickly.
BENNY FEILHABER. I know, I know, but hear me out. Sometimes, with these enigmatic, diva-like star players, the responsibilities of the armband have actually propelled them to the next level (Steven Gerrard, of Liverpool, comes to mind). While I wouldn't say Benny is level-headed by any stretch of the imagination, his dedication to playing defense, and playing a deeper role as of late, show me he is willing to sacrifice for the better of the team. Maybe the armband is what Feilhaber needs to return to his old form?
LEE NGUYEN. Nobody has earned more new fans in New England in 2012 than Lee Nguyen. Quiet, level-headed, and extremely talented, Nguyen has mad a name for himself in Foxboro, as well as MLS. His calming presence, and seemingly unflappable demeanor on the field might be what the team needs in its captain. Again, the fact he has only been a Rev for half a season may play against him, but it seems he's been taken to quite quickly.
RYAN GUY. Have you ever watched a player more dedicated to giving it his all on the field for the team than Ryan Guy? His energy and motor on the field no matter what the role is second to none on the team, and with his pedigree in European football, Guy certainly possesses the resumé to be the next captain. Playing time would be the biggest issue here, considering you want your captain on the field as much as possible, but with his recent increase in playing time, it seems like those concerns may be going away.
A.J. SOARES. Young, talented, dedicated, and poised to be a Rev for quite some time. Soares has quickly cemented his spot in the center of defense, and has become the backbone of the Revs back line. With a bright future ahead of him, I could easily see Soares wearing the armband for a very long time. I've called A.J. the future captain many a time in my tweets, articles, and rants. My only concern? Staying on the field. A.J. can have a temper, and certainly owns his share of red cards. I would like my captain to be the calming influence in tough times. The guy that everybody looks to when things get difficult, and that is the one area I'd like to see Soares improve.
CHRIS TIERNEY. You read correctly, and before you flip out, hear my side. What in the world has Tierney NOT done? Over the last few seasons, Tierney has done EVERYTHING this team has asked him to do. He's played out of position, sometimes multiple spots in one match. He's steady on the pitch. While he may not be the team's best player, you have come to know what to expect from him on the field, as he has very few peaks and valleys throughout the course of the season.
Chris has New England roots, endearing him to hardcore and casual fans alike, and most importantly, is visible around the community. His attitude is perfect: level-headed, quiet, but confident. While the point about giving the armband to a star doesn't apply there is one that does: not only do I think being the captain would improve his confidence and his form, he's someone that strikes me as the type of guy that would EMBRACE the captaincy. He would feel the honor and privilege of the responsibility. I feel like the armband would just be another accolade for a guy like Feilhaber, and it would be met with moderate enthusiasm.
Tierney has been a Revolution player for several seasons, and is entering the prime of his career. At age 26, Tierney is at the right stage of his career to take on this massive responsibility, and grow with it as the club grows into the future. When you break down everything you want in your captain, I feel like you see it with Chris.
So, we want to hear your opinion. Who will take this club into the future? Join the discussion and leave your comments in the section below. It's time for somebody to step up in this organization, and I'd love to hear what you think!