While New England Revolution fans haven’t been thrilled with Wilfrid Kaptoum, his head coach feels a bit differently.
“[Wilfrid Kaptoum] started the year a little slow with some injuries,” said head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena. “It has taken him some time to transition into Major League Soccer from the background he had. The tempo here is a little quicker than he’s used to. But as we’re getting now into the tail end of the regular season, he’s adjusting. We’re trying to encourage him to get forward a little bit more to the midfield, and he’s done well. So, his stock has gone up over the last couple of weeks or so and it’s encouraging, and it adds to our depth that we have in the midfield. For him in particular, we don’t discuss any plans for where we are. The way things have been going with our team, we’re constantly rotating players because of injuries or suspension or those type of things and Wilfrid is actively involved in that group of players.”
When the Revs acquired Kaptoum expectations were quite high. He is a former La Liga player who went through the world-renowned Barcelona Academy “La Masia.”
Also, the Cameroonian is being paid like a player who should perform. According to the 2021 MLS Players Salary Guide provided by the players association, Kaptoum is guaranteed to make $557,500.00 this season with a base salary of $500K.
But so far this season, the midfielder has only started in eight games for New England making 18 total appearances. The 25-year-old has only to be able to register one assist in that time.
While Kaptoum has shown his skill on the ball, he has also made some rather poor turnovers. With the price tag surrounding him, he simply hasn’t been good enough.
Still, Kaptoum has felt much better as he has been on the receiving end of more playing time.
“Yes, from the beginning to now I’m feeling much better and more comfortable on the pitch with my teammates,” said the midfielder. “I think in the first few times but now I feel more and more better. Now, I feel comfortable with the ball, physically and I hope that I’m going up every time.”
The 25-year-old also added when speaking to the media on Thursday that being able to start games has helped him gain confidence.
“Those eight games I’ve started have helped me gain more confidence in myself, being in a different league,” said Kaptoum. “They’ve helped me learn more about my teammates and approach the style of play in MLS with more confidence overall. I have the soccer and physical aspects down. I feel very good. All that’s left is to continue moving on the right path and continue learning.”
With just nine games left in the regular season, Kaptoum needs to improve or else he could see limited minutes in the postseason.