With the Revs' 2015 offseason in full swing, we went into the vault to analyze nearly two decades of winter roster moves. The result: a top 10 list of the most important offseason acquisitions in Revolution history. From Taylor Twellman to Matt Reis and beyond, we break down the best of the best.
1. Taylor Twellman, forward
Acquired: 2nd overall pick, 2002 MLS SuperDraft
Fresh off a two-year stint with 1860 Munich's reserve squad, Twellman entered MLS in 2002 and immediately solidified himself as one of the league's premier players, scoring 23 goals during his rookie campaign. Twellman's best season came in 2005, when he won the MLS MVP award and took home the league's Golden Boot (17 goals). A Tippeliagaen club (Norway) heavily pursued Twellman ahead of the 2006 season, though the Maryland product ultimately remained in New England, scoring 101 goals across his nine-year career. To this day, no other Revolution player has scored more than 42 career goals.
2. Steve Ralston, midfielder
Acquired: 6th overall pick, 2002 MLS Allocation Draft
After joining the Tampa Bay Mutiny following the 1996 College Draft, Ralston became the first player to win MLS Rookie of the Year honors. In 2002, when the Mutiny folded, Ralston joined the Revolution as the sixth overall pick in the allocation draft. During his nine-year career with the club, Ralston used his soccer IQ to effectively play a variety positions: center attacking midfielder, outside midfielder, left back and right back, among others. The long-time Revolution skipper retired in 2010 with 196 starts, 42 goals and 73 assists to his name.
3. Clint Dempsey, Forward
Acquired: 8th overall pick, 2004 MLS SuperDraft
The 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year immediately caught on in New England, scoring seven goals in 23 starts while helping his club to the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2005, Dempsey built on his impressive rookie campaign, contributing nine assists and 10 goals—including the game-winner in the Eastern Conference Finals. One year later, Dempsey missed significant time due to injury, but came on as a substitute during the club's second-consecutive trip to the MLS Cup Final. He elected not to feature in the match's penalty-kick shootout—and the club ultimately lost for the second-consecutive season. Ahead of the 2007 season, Dempsey took his talents to Europe, joining EPL side Fulham after just three years in New England.
4. Shalrie Joseph, midfielder
Acquired: 14th overall pick, 2002 MLS SuperDraft
When the Revolution drafted Joseph in 2002, the lanky midfielder chose not to join the team, instead heading overseas in search of an international club. His efforts proved fruitless, however, and Joseph officially joined the Revolution in 2003. For the next nine-and-a-half seasons, the Grenadian international anchored the Revolution midfield, setting numerous club records, including games started (254) and minutes played (22,867). After brief stints with Chivas USA (2012) and the Seattle Sounders (2013), the seven-time MLS All-Star and four-time Best XI Player returned to the Revolution. He retired following the 2014 season.
5. Matt Reis, goalkeeper
Acquired: Trade with Los Angeles Galaxy, 2003
The Galaxy drafted goalkeepers in 1997 (Kevin Hartman) and 1998 (Reis) in hopes of creating competition, though Reis rarely found himself in the Starting XI. In January 2003, the club decided to part ways with Reis, sending him to the Revolution for midfielder Alex Pineda Chacón and a second round pick in the upcoming draft. Chacon lasted just two more seasons in MLS (14 starts). Reis, on the other hand, would become one of the most dependable players in Revolution history, starting 253 matches across 11 seasons. He holds club records in every relevant goalkeeping category: wins (93), saves (989), shutouts (66) and save percentage (72.3), among countless others.
6. Jay Heaps, defender
Acquired: Trade with Miami Fusion, 2001
After a successful three-season stint in Miami, Heaps joined the Revolution in 2001 in a trade for defender Brian Dunseth. During his eight-season career in New England, the New Hampshire native started 238 matches, contributed 26 assists and anchored a defensive unit that went to four MLS Cup Finals (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007) and won two major tournaments: 2007 U.S. Open Cup and 2008 SuperLiga. After retiring in 2009, Heaps (of course) returned as the Revolution gaffer, and, in his third season, qualified for another MLS Cup Final.
7. Lee Nguyen, midfielder
Acquired: 2nd overall pick, 2012 MLS Waiver Draft
The Revs' creative engine took an unexpected path to stardom. After signing a multi-year deal with MLS in 2011, Nguyen was allocated to the Vancouver Whitecaps, though Tom Soehn waived the midfielder before the season began. Jay Heaps snagged Nguyen in the ensuing waiver draft and watched as he immediately settled into the club's No. 10 role. During his four-season career with the Revs, Nguyen has scored 34 goals and added 24 assists. His best season to date came in 2014, when he scored 18 goals, finished as an MVP finalist and led the Revolution to the MLS Cup Final.
8. Andrew Farrell, defender
Acquired: 1st overall pick, 2013 MLS SuperDraft
In 2013, the Revolution swapped first-round picks with Toronto FC and made Farrell the first No. 1 overall pick in club history. The Louisville product has featured in Jay Heaps' Starting XI from day one, starting 32 matches in each of his first three seasons. In 2015, Farrell left his right back post to fill the void left by A.J. Soares and, after making a quick adjustment, turned in a performance worthy of team Defender of the Year honors. At just 23 years old—the youngest player on this list—Farrell has room to mature into one of the best defenders in club history.
9. Scott Caldwell, midfielder
Acquired: Signed as a homegrown player, 2012
After spending a year with the Revolution Academy squad in 2008—and starring for the Akron Zips from 2009-2012—Caldwell joined the Revolution as the second homegrown player in club history. He debuted for the Revs in 2013 and immediately thrust his way into game day 18, appearing in 29 matches his rookie season (23 starts). Since that time, Caldwell has developed into one of the most reliable players on Jay Heaps' roster. In 2015, the 24-year old appeared in all 34 matches (the only player to do so) and earned team MVP honors, likely a sign of what's to come for the Weymouth, Mass. native.
10. Chris Tierney, defender
Acquired: 13th overall pick, 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft
In his third season with the Revolution, Tierney blossomed into a weekly contributor, amassing four assists in 26 starts. Since that time, the versatile defender—who has also played numerous midfield positions—has quietly developed into one of Jay Heaps' most valuable players. In 2014, Tierney scored a late equalizer to take the MLS Cup Final into extra time; in 2015, he created a career-high six goals while earning his first MLS All-Star selection. Now the longest-tenured Revolution player, Tierney's name belongs with the greats in club history.
Honorable Mentions: Pat Noonan (2003 MLS SuperDraft), Michael Parkhurst (2005 MLS SuperDraft), Andy Dorman (2004 MLS SuperDraft), Diego Fagundez (signed as a homegrown player, 2010)