Tom Soehn has represented his share of MLS clubs. He’s managed D.C. United and Whitecaps FC. He’s served as an assistant with the Fire and Revolution. And now, after replacing Jay Heaps on the Revolution staff, he’ll pace the sidelines as a head coach once more.
Soehn will get a trial run of the Revolution head coaching job over the next five matches. And while the "interim" tag is a familiar one for the Chicago native, the journey has presented plenty of challenges.
"It's been a real tough couple of days for the staff,” Soehn said during his midweek media availability. “Obviously, our staff is real close and losing Jay feels like you're losing part of the family, especially someone that's done so much for the club. It hurt.”
It’s been a trying week for the Revolution roster, too. Defender Chris Tierney called the move a "really tough one for us to swallow." Injured midfielder Kelyn Rowe said it "hit the guys pretty hard."
In spite of the distraction, Soehn knows he must keep his club focused.
"We met as a group, met as a team, met individually with everybody, making sure everybody's heads are in the right place," he continued. "All you can ask of everybody now is that for five games, we pull together as a group and kind of use that hard feeling we have in our hearts to bond and come together as a group, because that's what we have—five games and we still have a chance."
On Saturday, this focus will be put to test when Soehn coaches his first match as the Revolution head man. He’ll have his work cut out for him, as the Revs host Toronto FC, who have the Supporter’s Shield all but won. That’s a tough way to debut. But Soehn understands how to get the most from his team.
"It's through difficult times you find special things out of people, and that's what we have to ask of everybody right now," he said.
Soehn will likely interview for the Revolution’s head coaching job at season’s end. If he rallies the team—and finishes with a late-season surge—he could add another title his resume.
First, he’ll have to re-energize a club that has lost back-to-back matches in stunning fashion. Soehn gets that challenge, too.
"We know we have a big test at hand and we're going to have to welcome it and take it as it comes," he said.
The Revs kick off with Toronto FC on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET.