It’s pretty atypical in MLS to see a roster with four goalkeepers on it but such is the case with the New England Revolution.
The club currently has four options to play between the sticks in Bobby Shuttleworth, Brad Knighton, Cody Cropper, and Matt Turner. Though this may seem like a logjam at a position that can only feature one player at a time, head coach Jay Heaps is happy about who he has in his ranks.
“We expect to carry the four guys on our roster—four guys that we’re actually really excited about,” Heaps said.
Heaps’ excitement stems from the fact that he has multiple players who could conceivable start on day one.
Shuttleworth has been the Revolution’s go-to starter since Matt Reis retired in 2013. Since first signing in 2009, the 29-year-old netminder has shown measurable growth. In 2014, the Revs made the MLS Cup Final, a feat aided by Shuttleworth’s acute positioning.
Knighton is another veteran presence who has a claim to be in the starting XI. Originally with the club from 2007-2009, the North Carolina native spent some time away before returning to Foxboro in 2014. Since then, Knighton has been second to Shuttleworth, though he did grab the top spot late last year after providing heroics in the U.S. Open Cup.
Cropper is younger at 23 years old, but has European experience after playing one season with MK Dons and three with Southampton F.C. Cropper needed time to adjust after signing mid-season last year, but looked sharp when he made his debut in the season finale.
Turner is now entering his second season as a professional and isn’t likely to compete for the starting role. That said, the 22-year-old did impress during loan stints to the Richmond Kickers.
With several great choices at his disposal, Heaps isn’t ready to name his day one starter.
“I think going into this year, there’s a real competition,” Heaps explained. “I’m pretty open in to where we’re going to go in that position. I want to see how preseason goes and see what each of them did in the off-season.”
Staying true to the principles of competition, Heaps isn’t likely to name his starter in the foreseeable future.
“At the end of preseason and we’ll make our decision for that first game,” Heaps concluded.