Update: On Tuesday morning, the Revolution confirmed the dismissal of Head Coach Jay Heaps.
According to multiple reports, the New England Revolution have dismissed head coach Jay Heaps.
Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep had it first and was immediately followed up by FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio. Heaps’ tenure as head coach could be ending in the middle of his sixth season as head coach in New England after a playing career that included eight seasons as a mainstay in the Revs backline.
Heaps’ tenure will be highlighted by the impressive rebuilding job, taking a 9th place team in 2011 and 2012 into the playoffs in 2014 with a crop of high draft picks and cagey MLS signings. The addition of Jermaine Jones in midseason brought the Revs back to the MLS Cup Finals and another loss to the LA Galaxy.
That would be the high water mark of Heaps’ coaching career, as the Revs soon spiraled downward, letting defender AJ Soares go after that MLS Cup Final, the Jermaine Jones saga and finally the lack of overall player signings as the rest of MLS surpassed the Revs on and off the field.
Not even new signings Xavier Kouassi, Antonio Delamea and Claude Dielna as well as trades for Kei Kamara were enough to keep the Revs as playoff contenders. Set to miss the playoffs for the second straight year with only a US Open Cup Final loss to FC Dallas to show for the last two years, the Revs have opted to move on from their long tenured coach and club legend.
Heaps is not the only reason for the struggles in New England, but this move does feel necessary. Back-to-back blowout losses on the road thanks to early red cards may have been the final straw but the Revs struggles in MLS go back to before this year.
A defensive backline that has been largely unsettled since that MLS Cup run and only now may have the two centerbacks in place with Delamea and Dielna. An offense that that is capable of scoring four on any given night is the same offense that can go a month without a goal as well. The Revolution have also been a dismal road team, opting to try and bunker to protect leads constantly, only to have the defense crack under pressure time and time again.
Jay Heaps was the man for the job when the Revs needed to rebuild, and the shrewd roster acquisitions were enough to make a bad team relevant again. But MLS moved past Heaps and the Revs, on the field the coach couldn’t adjust to keep his team in games and off the field they are getting surpassed by teams like Toronto and Atlanta willing to spend millions on players.
The Revolution are certainly better than their 10-14-5 record indicates, or at least they should be. New England is not a bad team, there’s still a lot of talented players here, but the issues of depth, investment and leadership go beyond the head coach.
Jay Heaps leaves New England with a 75-81-43 record as a head coach, when combined with his playing career, that’s almost 450 games as a player and coach in Foxboro. Jay Heaps is and will always be a club legend, this decision to make a coaching changed will never change that.
But if the Revolution go out and hire a new head coach and keep the status quo elsewhere, then I don’t see the new coach faring much better than his predecessor.