After a year of growth playing as a center back, Andrew Farrell isn’t about to relinquish the position.
Farrell is set to begin fourth his season with the New England Revolution. Drafted first overall in 2013, Farrell immediately claimed the right back spot, making 32 starts. The former All-American avoided the dreaded sophomore slump as he once again featured in 32 games.
His third season brought a new challenge as Farrell was asked to partner with Jose Goncalves in the middle, a move that had long been predicted. After a rough start to the season, Farrell settled down and found consistency. It’s something that he hopes to build upon this year.
"I think every year we have to get better," Farrell told media on Saturday. "Obviously playing center back this year, I worked on different things [this off-season] than being an outside back: my distribution [and] just being calm out of the back."
While Farrell looked sharp for long stretches during 2015, there’s a possibility that he could return to right back, especially in light of the Revs acquiring Sambinha on loan from Sporting CP. The 23-year-old Sambinha spent the past two and half seasons with Sporting B, but does have experience playing for the first team. The Portuguese defender is expected to compete for minutes at center back.
While Farrell is happy to do what’s best for the team, his preference is to stay in the middle.
"I like center back," Farrell professed. "After every game, I think I got better and better. I don’t know what the coaches are thinking, but wherever they put me I’ll try to do my best."
Fortunately for Farrell, head coach Jay Heaps see the benefits of playing the Louisville product centrally. That said, there’s a chance that Farrell could once again line up on the right side of the field.
"I see his continued growth as a center back," Heaps said. "I really liked his progression last year and we’re going to continue to work on that. That doesn’t mean that he won’t see time at right back if the game or the situation calls for it. But going into preseason we’re going to work him in full-time as a center back."