Most 19-year-old's around the country are acclimating to their fall semester of college, and that would be the case for Zachary Herivaux if it weren't for May 2, 2015.
That's the day that the Brookline, Massachusetts native, who cites New England Revolution legend Sharlie Joseph as a major influence, signed as a Homegrown Player. In doing so, Herivaux passed up on the opportunity to play for an up-and-coming Providence College program, but the decision is no way accompanied by lingering demons or "what ifs".
Instead, Herivaux has relished every moment of the last five and a half months, especially in light of the professional opportunities New England has provided him with.
"I’m not regretting [my decision] because I’ve enjoyed my time so far with the team and I think it’s certainly helping me develop a lot as a player," Herivaux. "Being able to train in a professional environment every day, being with the guys, is definitely only going to help more than college would. I’m definitely do not regret my decision and it’s going really well for me so far."
Add in the fact that Herivaux gets to train every day with the likes of Jermaine Jones, Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell, and Daigo Kobayashi in midfield, and the opportunity at hand becomes increasingly promising. The midfielder, who represented Haiti at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, is constantly picking the brains of those around him, all with the hopes of adding details to his own game.
"They’ll pull me aside and tell me what I did wrong or what I did well, and what I need to work on," Herivaux said. "All they’re doing is helping my game and - watching players like Jermaine, Lee, Scotty, Daigo, all of them - it’s learning from their playing styles. They’ve all been successful in their careers, so I’m trying to follow in their footsteps."
At this point in his career, Herivaux acknowledges that he has a ways to go before he reaches the level of his mentors, especially since playing time is hard to come by in a crowded midfield. Nonetheless, Herivaux, who said the coaching tandem of Jay Heaps and Tom Soehn urge him to be vociferous and communicate with the team more, has made positive strides in his first season.
He entered in the 87th minute of the Revs' 1-0 defeat to the Charlotte Independence in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which marked his first spurt of playing time. That playing time was hard to come by, but the 19-year-old was encouraged by what those moments could lead to down the road.
"It was a mixture of excitement and nervousness in the Open Cup game, but I was happy to get into a game and get some touches," Herivaux said. "I’m not expecting too much game time, but I’m still working hard for it. I’m going to keep on working hard in training and show why they signed me and prove that I can play with the team."
With all of that in mind, Herivaux has still encountered some difficulties in his first season as a professional. One of the biggest ones has simply been transitioning from life as a student-athlete to being a full-time soccer player. Herivaux previously attended Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and now has to head to practice in the morning instead of the classroom.
Perhaps most drastically, though, Herivaux has had to cope with an ever-changing social dynamic. Most of his friends are in school, while Herivaux arrives at Gillette Stadium for training in the morning and then has the rest of the day to himself.
"It was hard adapting at first when all of my pals went to college, but the guys in the locker room treat me well," Herivaux said. "I’ve made good friends there and we’re really close in the locker room. I also have a good friend who’s still in school around here, so it’s easy for me to hang out with people. I’ve adapted to it even though it’s not a fun process, but I’m doing better."
As that very process now unfolds on the training field, in and around Boston, and on game day, Herivaux only hopes for the best in the future. The road towards more playing time will be arduous and full of ups and downs, but Herivaux has his sights set on etching out a career in New England.
If Herivaux’s attitude reveals anything, it’s that accomplishing that is entirely within the realm of possibilities.
"I’ve been watching this team for a long time," Herivaux said. "I want to become a big part of this club and do great things for them."