Jake Rozhansky vividly remembers defending Carles Gil when Revs II scrimmaged the first team earlier this year.
It went something like this: Gil lured Rozhansky close to the ball, tempting him to bite––and the Revs II midfielder took the bait. In a flash, Gil took a deft, last-second touch away from Rozhansky that left him dead in his tracks.
“Next time [Gil] got the ball, I was like ‘alright, I’m just going to back up three steps and let him have it,’” Rozhansky laughed.
Rozhansky knows that the level of MLS is a step up from USL League One. Everything is quicker, more precise, and more technical. Players like Carles Gil routinely bemuse defenders.
But Rozhansky isn’t timid. He said: “The goal is to make it to the first team. I’m confident, I think I can definitely do it.”
Since joining Revs II in late March, Rozhansky has emerged as an early-season MVP candidate for the team, making his case for a first-team call-up. The midfielder––typically employed as the No. 6––is the only player to start in all 13 games for Revs II this season, pacing the team in minutes played (1,147). He also leads the team in passes (822), assists (4), and chances created (21).
Rozhansky may remind fans of Maciel, a former Revs II midfielder who now frequently features for the first team. Like Maciel, Rozhansky is an undersized, deep-lying midfielder who is excellent technically and has brilliant composure; he loves finding the ball and dictating the game’s rhythm.
“I’m playing in a position where I should be getting on the ball the most. It’s nice to be playing in that role,” Rozhansky said. “In that position, I’m the quarterback of the team where I’m trying to organize the people around me. I’m just happy it’s worked out the way it has.”
Rozhansky joined Revs II after several years in Israel, where he made 83 career appearances across the top three flights. After successful college stints at the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia, the midfielder was selected 44th overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by Columbus Crew, but decided to play professionally in Israel with top-flight team Maccabi Netanya, instead.
But now, the midfielder is back in the U.S., chasing the country’s top flight.
Rozhansky’s on-field contributions are helping his case, as well as his leadership skills. Rozhansky was named Revs II’s captain within weeks of joining the team, a testament to his leadership ability. The role is nothing new to him, as he’s captained many of his former teams, too.
“I love having that responsibility,” Rozhansky said. “It’s something I love and take really seriously. I hope I’m making the guys proud and the whole club proud.”
Wearing the captain’s armband for Revs II is no small feat, especially given Rozhansky’s recent arrival. Some players understand the franchise, staff, and system better––take the handful of players who have been with Revs II since their inaugural season in 2020. Furthermore, it’s a team that features various types of players, from Academy stars to professionals nearing the tail end of their career; managing that group isn’t light work.
But Rozhansky, 25, has taken these challenges in stride. He’s particularly helped midfield companions Michel and Noel Buck adjust to the professional game. Michel, 19, moved to Boston from Brazil this year and still doesn’t speak much English. Noel Buck, 16, is a young Academy player navigating the professional game at an extremely young age. The midfield perfectly exemplifies how players on Revs II come from various walks of life; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to leading a diverse crew of players, a challenge that Rozhansky has accepted with open arms.
Revs II (5-7-1) isn’t off to a fast start this season, but Rozhansky has been a constant performer, exemplified by multiple USL League One Team of the Week selections.
After missing the playoffs last season, Rozhansky and Revs II are determined to change course. Rising up in the standings will require more clinical goal-scoring, with Ryan Sierakowski and Justin Rennicks struggling up front.
Rozhansky knows he can help bridge that goal-scoring gap. In 2017, he led the U.S to a Gold Medal at the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem, winning the tournament’s Golden Boot with six goals. In 2013, he won the Golden Ball with Olney Rangers Academy at the USYS National Championships.
“I do think I can get around the goals,” Rozhansky said. “That’s something I want to work on –– getting on the edge of the box and maybe making that deep, late run that Lampard used to do all the time.”
“We’ve been on a rollercoaster ride so far this season. Something we’ve spoken about as a team is being more consistent. If we want to make a run, we’re going to have to be consistent every single game. I am optimistic. I think we’re going in the right direction –– we’re a young team, but we have super talented players.”
Possession and build-up play is Rozhansky’s bread and butter, but his past goal-scoring prowess is just one indication of the versatility that he brings to the team. His unique skill set should set him up for success, with his eyes firmly set on a jump to the first team.
“The goal is to make it to the first team. I just have to keep up my form and keep pushing. Hopefully at the end of this year, I’ll get some good news.”