Acquired on Nov. 25, 2013 and waived on Mar. 10, 2014, Paolo DelPiccolo wasn't with the New England Revolution for very long. The central midfielder collected 156 preseason minutes, but was released shortly after the season opener, a game in which he didn't make the bench. Although his time in New England was short, DelPiccolo isn't about to blame anyone.
"You can't blame someone else if you give them a choice," DelPiccolo said. "If I had gone out there and played like Messi then I'm guessing that Jay [Heaps] wouldn't have released me. So, I don't blame Jay at all."
The short stint with the Revs is in line with DelPiccolo's career thus far.
Originally drafted 27th overall by the Montreal Impact in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, DelPiccolo chose to sign with Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt. He recorded one assist in seven games with the reserves before returning to North America in the summer to sign with the Impact. He was waived at the end of the season without making a first team appearance. DelPiccolo's luck wasn't much better with the Revolution as he was released without playing a regular season minute.
DelPiccolo drew parallels between his time in Montreal and New England. In both situations, he was released because the coaching staff didn't see him contributing significant time. In Montreal, DelPiccolo was behind established players like Patrice Bernier, Davy Arnaud and Hernán Bernardello. Similarly, DelPiccolo was told that he didn't fit into the Revolution's plans.
"Jay's a good coach," DelPiccolo remarked. "Jay didn't release me because he didn't like me. Jay released me because he didn't see me playing. You don't want to be the bottom of the roster because sometimes you're not even getting into training games. I'm glad he didn't have me stick around to be the bottom of the roster because it doesn't help me out either."
In search of a new club, DelPiccolo relocated to the Southwest to join the newly created Arizona United SC of USL-Pro. The move was done to get something that he had been missing over the course of the last year: consistent playing time.
"I played in Germany but didn't have any appearances with Montreal," DelPiccolo stated. "With the Revs, I played a couple of preseason games but obviously didn't have any appearances with them. So, I needed a place to get some good games in and play and this is perfect for me."
Before signing with Arizona United, DelPiccolo trialed with Indy Eleven, a NASL team that's playing its inaugural season now. The week-long trial included a preseason game against his alma mater Louisville University. Though Indy Eleven was an option, DelPiccolo ultimately ended up with Arizona United.
"I think that NASL and USL are extremely similar," DelPiccolo commented. "You can't say one league is better than the other. Some clubs have more money or have better organizations. That's why I'd say that some USL clubs are better than NASL clubs and some NASL clubs that are better than USL clubs."
DelPiccolo is adjusting to being a team leader, which is different than the roles he played with his previous clubs. He's also playing some of the best soccer of his career. He has started each of Arizona's first three games and had the late equalizer against LA Galaxy II on Mar. 25.
"I really enjoyed my time in Montreal and New England, but there's a lot of stress," DelPiccolo said.
"Right now I'm not worried about being waived like I was waived in New England. I'm getting to play games and I'm comfortable in my role. I think I've done a good job of solidifying myself as a good player so I can play more outside my comfort zone."
While Arizona United is a new team, DelPiccolo complimented the facilities, front office and coaching staff, which includes young head coach Michael Dellorusso. Furthermore, the team employs talented players like Charles Renken, Matt Kassel and Jonathan Top. DelPiccolo went as far as to say that Arizona United is "doing everything just like MLS."
Although the organization is great and DelPiccolo is happy, he still doesn't believe that he's found a permanent home.
"I'm incredibly happy--probably the happiest I've been in a long time--being at Arizona United, but it's not the goal," DelPiccolo explained. "Arizona Untied knows that. They know most of the players here have ambitions to go back into MLS or back over to Europe or whatever. That doesn't change the way that we play or the way that we care about the team."
DelPiccolo hopes that he will eventually catch the attention of a MLS team or one from abroad. His time in Frankfurt, Montreal and New England has illuminated the path that DelPiccolo must follow if he wants to join a bigger club.
"I need to get better," DelPiccolo said. "Jay released me because he didn't see me as a good enough player to play on his team. The best way to solve that problem is to just get better, so that's what I'm focused on."