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Bruce Arena’s expectations for Henry Kessler in 2021

Bruce Arena spoke to the media on Monday and confirmed that Henry Kessler is with the U-23’s for Olympic qualifying and also touched upon his expectations for Kessler in 2021.

MLS: Montreal Impact at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Henry Kessler had an impressive rookie year for the New England Revolution in 2020. Heading into the 2021 season, fans will be expecting more from the center back.

Kessler made an impact right away. Besides finding the back of the net in his first year in MLS, Kessler was a stout defender. The 22-year-old showed poise and patience when making tackles and quickly formed a great partnership with Andrew Farrell.

The center back led New England in interceptions, tackles won, possessions won, and clearances. What more could you have asked out of the rookie?

Kessler even did so well that he was named the club’s Defender of the Year in 2020. He was the first rookie to win the award since A.J. Soares in 2011.

2021 has been just another great year for Kessler so far. He was named to the United States U-23 Men’s National Team roster for January camp and was also recently on their preliminary roster for Olympic qualifying.

On Monday, Revs Head Coach and Sporting Director Bruce Arena was asked about Kessler and his expectations for the defender in 2021. In doing so Arena confirmed that Kessler is currently with the U-23’s.

Arena said, “He’s in with the U-23s now. … Our expectation is that he gets better as a player, he grows, and takes advantage of the experience he got in year one. I thought he did an outstanding job for us last year and hopefully, he can build on that in 2021.”

Being named to the U-23’s means that Kessler has the opportunity to make the final 20-man roster that will play in the competition that begins on March 18th.

Kessler became a fan favorite for his great play in the back in 2020, but fans and coaches alike will be expecting more out of the center back when the 2021 MLS regular season arrives.