Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By KEVIN KOCZWARA
Jose Goncalves will call New England home again.
The Revolution made their captain’s loan permanent as the team used their option to purchase Goncalves and transfer him permanently to New England, the club announced Friday. They also picked up his contract option for the 2014 MLS season.
“With what he provided us on and off the field this year, we’re looking forward to him returning,” Revolution general manager Mike Burns told the team’s official website. “We’re certainly glad that we were able to acquire him on a permanent basis.”
Goncalves, who anchored the Revolution’s defense and quickly took over the captain’s armband despite being on loan, joins 11 other Revolution players who had their contract options picked up and four other players who are under contract with the team through the 2014 season.
Nine players had their contract options declined for the 2014 season, including former U.S. Men’s National Team player Charlie Davies, who was on loan from Danish club Randers FC. Three players are out of contract heading into the 2014 season.
“After every season, we have to take a hard look at our roster and make some very difficult decisions, both for personnel and salary budget considerations,” Burns said. “In our case, we’ll continue discussions with some of the out-of-contract and declined-option players in the hope they will return to the club next year.
“We’ve been steadily adding pieces to our club and after showing some improvement this year, we’ve retained a core group of players for next season. We’ll continue to try to strengthen the team this off-season through more signings and the various drafts.”
For Davies, the club has said it is interested in him returning to the team next season but a deal needs to be worked out with his club.
“Charlie’s a player that we would like to have return to us, but [his situation] is a little bit more complicated than some other ones that may have been a little bit more straightforward,” Burns said on Nov. 12. “We are working and [we’re] in the process to hopefully have him back in a Revs uniform next year.”
One player of note whose contract option wasn’t picked up is longtime goalkeeper Matt Reis, who had a terrific year in net before getting injured in the closing minutes of the Revolution’s playoff game against Sporting Kansas City, but had a tough year off the field with the Boston marathon bombings affecting his family. Burns told the team’s website that there is more to the situation than just not picking up a contract. At the team’s exit interviews a few weeks ago, Reis hinted to SBI that he was considering retirement.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with Matt from the coaches to the front office,” Burns said. “I think it would probably be more appropriate – at the appropriate time – for Matt to address his situation. He was not an easy one for us, but we made a decision to not exercise the option. But there’s obviously a lot more to it than that.”
Burns also said that the team isn’t done trying to bring players back. Some players whose contracts were not picked up or who are out of contract could still return.
“Just because a player’s contract option is not picked up or he’s out of contract, does not mean that he won’t be back. That’s just part of the process,” said Burns.
One player whose future is up in the air is forward Juan Agudelo, who agreed to a pre-contract with Stoke City in the English Premier League but had his work permit denied this week. Burns says the team is monitoring his situation and that the team would welcome him back if Agudelo is interested in returning to the team. New England does have the right of first refusal if Agudelo does decide to return to Major League Soccer next year.
Revolution picked up contract options on goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth; defenders Jose Goncalves, Stephen McCarthy, A.J. Soares and O’Brian Woodbine; midfielders Scott Caldwell, Andy Dorman and Lee Nguyen; and forwards Jerry Bengtson, Dimitry Imbongo and Saer Sene.
Four players under contract for 2014 are: midfielder Diego Fagundez, defender Andrew Farrell, midfielder Kelyn Rowe and defender Chris Tierney.
The Revs declined the 2014 contract options on nine players: forward Chad Barrett, forward Charlie Davies, midfielder Ryan Guy, defender Tyler Polak, goalkeeper Matt Reis, midfielder Clyde Simms, midfielder Donnie Smith, goalkeeper Luis Soffner and midfielder Juan Toja.
Three players are out of contract going into the 2014 season: forward Juan Agudelo, defender Kevin Alston and defender Darrius Barnes.
Three more players were waived and will be available to other Major League Soccer teams in the Waiver Draft on Monday, Nov. 25: defender Bilal Duckett, forward Matt Horth and midfielder Gabe Latigue.
What do you think of this news? Do you see Goncalves staying with the Revolution for the long term? Surprised that Davies’ contract was declined? Do you believe Agudelo could come back next season with the Revolution?
Share your thoughts below.