Good afternoon all.
So I’m sitting here, looking for stories to post and taking care of some SBI housekeeping when an email pops up from the New England Revolution. The subject line said "New England Revolution Transactions." Seemed harmless enough. Then it dawned on me that these are the Revs we are talking about and there isn’t a more shrewd front office in the league, so I opened the email to see about these transactions.
Sure enough, buried in an otherwise ordinary email was the news that the Revs have signed Brandon Manzonelli to a developmental contract.
The name probably doesn’t ring a bell to the casual soccer fan, but to the American soccer die-hards, the kid is a bit of an internet legend.
You see, Manzonelli went to Spain at the age of 16, signing with the Villarreal youth system. Message boards have sung his praises despite most of the praisers never having seen him play. He was signed by Villarreal so he must be on the fast track to the national team.
After two years in the Villarreal youth system, and eight goals and 10 assists in 25 matches for the youth version of the Yellow Submarine, Manzonelli is returning to the United States as an 18-year old ready to join fellow St. Louis natives Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston with the Revs.
Is Manzonelli going to be the key to the Revs breaking their MLS Cup jinx? No, but it’s interesting to see the Revs scoop up a prospect like Manzonelli, and at a developmental price tag to boot.
The Revs also signed midfielder Joe Germanese, another St. Louis product, to a developmental product. Germanese won’t draw the same buzz as Manzonelli, but he did show some good flashes at January’s MLS Combine.
When you take these acquisitions, and include word from my sources that the Revs are lining up a move for Honduran prospect George Welcome, you realize that new England is serious about its youth movement. As if the acquisitions of Gambians Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally as well as the signings of Mauricio Castro and Argenis Fernandez weren’t enough.
Nevermind that more than 200 top New England-area youth prospects showed up earlier this week for a presentation on the Revs new player development system.
A club building through youth rather than by signing a boatload of mercinaries? What a concept.
What do you think of New England’s maneuvering? Share your thoughts below.