By CARL SETTERLUND
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Don’t call him a kid anymore.
At least in one sense, 19-year-old star winger Diego Fagundez becomes an adult Thursday, graduating from high school in a 6:00 p.m. ceremony at Fitchburg High School, the city next door to the Fagundez household in Leominster, Mass.
“It means a lot (to graduate),” Fagundez said on Thursday morning. “It means I worked hard all 12 years (of school) and didn’t give up no matter how hard it was. I finished it off and now I’m happy to go walk and get my diploma finally.”
The Revolution say Fagundez, who just turned 19 on Valentine’s Day, is graduating on time. He signed with the franchise as a freshman at age 15.
Fagundez spent his first 1-1/2 years of high school as a traditional student at Leominster High, switched to private tutoring and online lessons as a sophomore, and then enrolled at Goodrich Academy, a night school extension of Fitchburg High, for his junior and senior years.
“It was actually tough because it wasn’t a normal schedule that I had like any other teenager,” he said, “All the teachers, everyone who supported me definitely helped me out, and at the end of the day I’m still walking and getting a diploma.”
Fagundez and Revs brass, such as GM Mike Burns, have stressed since signing him that they felt it was in Fagundez’s best interest to finish high school.
Luckily, he won’t need an expensive college degree to land reliable employment. He’s already on his second professional contract and is set to make a total of $137,200 this season.
Here are some other notes from Revs training:
BATTLE FOR STARTING ROLE BETWEEN ROWE, KOBAYASHI
When Kelyn Rowe returned to the starting lineup last weekend against Montreal, it appeared he had overtaken incumbent Daigo Kobayashi, who started New England’s previous nine games, including a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) that ended with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the lowly Impact.
However, Revs coach Jay Heaps supplied a different reason altogether when asked about the move on Thursday.
“Injury,” Heaps told SBI. “Daigo didn’t train all week, he had an injury to his back. He was questionable and we want to play the healthiest guys.”
Kobayashi was back out at Revs training this week, and it’s unclear who will start in Sunday’s game against the New York Red Bulls.
ROWE HUMBLED, MOTIVATED BY INJURY STRUGGLES
Rowe, for his part, has been upbeat despite a long six-week rehab from a left hamstring strain that caused him to miss most of the unbeaten streak.
“You want to get back in the lineup, but the team’s doing so well, you had to be happy for them,” Rowe said. “The guys in there were doing so well, I wasn’t going to be given a spot, that was pretty sure. It’s going to make me a better player having to compete with Lee Nguyen, Daigo, guys like Diego.”
Rowe came off the bench the previous three matches, playing a combined 78 substitute minutes, before going 62 minutes against Montreal. With injuries limiting Rowe to 319 minutes this season, he has yet to score or assist on a goal.
Heaps let Rowe off the hook for last weekend, saying he didn’t think the team’s defensive play against Montreal allowed Rowe to properly utilize his skill set.
MULTIPLE HOME UNBEATEN STREAKS ON THE LINE
A stinker in Montreal brought to a close New England’s five-game winning streak and seven-game unbeaten streak, but two other relevant streaks survived going into Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against the New York Red Bulls.
New England is one of two teams still unbeaten at home this season – Real Salt Lake is the other – and has only allowed one goal in five games at Gillette Stadium, including wins over D.C., Seattle, Kansas City, and Houston.
The Revs have also been especially focused at home against the Red Bulls.
New England hasn’t lost at home to the New York franchise since the team was still called the MetroStars.
The Revs are 11-0-6 against New York in regular season matches in Foxboro dating back to Sept. 21, 2002. That unbeaten streak goes up to 21 games if you also include playoff games and U.S. Open Cup matches.
The news isn’t all good, though. The Revs have only beaten the Red Bulls once in eight games since the start of the 2011 season, a 2-0 win on July 8, 2012.
ANOTHER KIND OF HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
A New England Revolution spokesperson told MLSSoccer.com on Wednesday that Sunday’s game would be played on the team’s usual FieldTurf, instead of the grass laid down for Friday’s Portugal-Mexico friendly at Gillette Stadium.
In the past, Thierry Henry in particular has refused to play on the Revolution’s surface. The field was named the worst in the league, receiving 12 of 18 votes in a player poll conducted by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl prior to the 2013 season.
New England upgraded to new FieldTurf this season, using the same model as Seattle and Portland.
What do you think? Happy for Fagundez on his high school graduation day? Who should start between Rowe and Kobayashi? Can the Revs get the win against New York? Was the FieldTurf move fair game?
Share your thoughts below.
Rowe or Kobayashi? If you watch the entire game against Montreal, the answer is very obvious. Kobayashi is a team oriented player and a perfect compliment to the team’s attacking side and especially Lee Nguyen style of play. Don’ get me wrong, Rowe is a nice player but he over dribbles to the point that he ruins team chemistry. The seven games unbeaten streak should tell you something. I think Heap should have started Koba and bring Rowe in later part of the game. Rowe would be perfect for that role because of his style of play. So do us all a favor Heap, go back to the lineup that got the Revs to this point. GO REVS !
I think koba was injured with a back problem during the week and didn’t train
Anyone see the comments by ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, where he goes on a rant about how Klinsmann should leave the country? He feels slighted that Klinsmann dissed his boo, Kobe Bryant and his contract with the Lakers. But still, you tell someone to leave their home? Totally off base.
I cannot stand Michael Wilbon. I find him VERY irritating. I cannot watch his show because I truly question some of his opinions and his annoying behavior. I saw the clip (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/06/michael-wilbon-jurgen-klinsmann). Typical overreaction and ranting…
Can’t stand him!
It was Hilarious.
Main stream Sports media is way out of their depth talking about soccer. I like that they try but when they try to be controversial it just ends up being comedic.
Also I mean the Gold Cup is kinda Lame but we did win it.
+1. Another epic Michael Wilbon faceplant. As a Lakers fan, Klinsi he couldn’t have nailed it harder.
A lot of people can’t find it in themselves to accept this… but the Clippers franchise value is now higher than the Lakers. Seriously, the Buss Family Leftover Circus could try to sell the team right after Sterling gets his billions and they would not get as much.
Really? You can’t understand why the Lakers would pay the face of their franchise and ambassador to the world who still sells tons of jerseys who has played through countless injuries and WON you championships who’s earnings have been stunted for years because of the salary cap? If the Lakers would have cut him you would be the same person complaining how there is no loyalty in sports anymore. Your Lakers have declined because they keep trying to place stop gap players in an attempt to win championships and please fans like yourself instead of rebuilding an aging dynasty
Aside from JK not understanding the inner workings of player contract negations, his generalization of the American sports landscape once again show he is out of touch. The NFL gets called out all the time for being too much of a business. Player unions are the reason veteran players get more money its what the players want
I dunno $25 million is a lot of shirts to sell.. About 357,142 jerseys at $70 gross on each shirt.
Now, this doesn’t sound like a big number but you don’t get all of that $70 as profit. So lets bust it down to about $20 going to the Lakers after everyone in the Supply chain has taken a cut.
At $20 net profit(Generous), 1.250 millions shirts per year need to be sold. This is while the Lakers will likely be sucking because Kobe is old and eating up the Salary cap.
Oh Joy, Kobe is not only expensive off the court he is also ruining any long term strategic upgrades because the Lakers can’t afford any talented young blood.
michael wilbon is a f—ing troII.
Frankly, what Wilbon said was UN-American. Putting aside whatever opinion you might have of Juergan Klismann, the person, he is married to an American citizen and has CHOSEN to make his home in California. If I’m not mistaken he’s been living in the states for a decade or more. He may be a naturalized US citizen. He certainly is eligible. But even if he never chooses to be a US citizen, he IS home already.
Wilbon plays a character on ESPN. Exaggeration for entertainment. He’s not a xenophobe he just gets payed to play that typical American jerk sports guy persona.
We need to get Fagundez cap tied to the US. Hey, let’s promise him a World Cup spot if he it’s to the USA!
But seriously, I’d like to see him commit.
Sorry, “if he commits”
Well your going to have to wait about four years to see him commit to the USA so don’t get too worked up about it yet.
Call your congressman and say he needs to make Fagundez a US citizen already. He’s as American as apple pie, but better!! It’s guv-ment red tape and ineptitude that keeps holding back our recruitment of Fagundez. I think he still has another 4yrs to go of permenent residency until he could qualify under the current system. When Europe comes calling, it will be tough to keep him here, and with that, we may lose him forever.
Government red tape? It’s his parents! They have been here for years and never thought to start the process until recently???? Diego feels close to Uruguay and US. He will go the first place that calls him (from what I read, prefers US). The only issue I see is if he truly has 4 years left until obtaining citizenship, I see him an senior team call up/trial before 23. If he accepts, then US is out. Going abroad is not an issue, as long as he maintains his residence in the US. You can work abroad and still be a US resident
Revs fan shouldn’t worry about this game. The Red Bulls are very thin and as long as Alexander continues to play at midfield any attack dies there. NY will be happy with a draw.
but we lost to f8*$#(* Montreal last week
Chump change. We have a 18 yr. old (19 tomorrow) who is making $700,000.00 a year.
If the grass is laid, why wouldnt they leave it down for a Sunday game? Do they have to return it to the grass store for credit?
I can’t tell you how much I hate turf and my attendance has really dropped off since they first installed it. Just don’t like the way it changes the game. I don’t care what kind of turf it is, it doesnt hold the ball and it rolls and rolls and rolls.
Henry said he thought Portland’s turf was great: http://www.oregonlive.com/timbers/index.ssf/2013/05/portland_timbers_turf_earns_hi.html
So if NE have the same stuff, what is the difference? I know there are different options with FieldTurf, so did NE choose to forgo the soccer-friendly combination.
(I know the difference with Seattle’s turf, which is terrible.)
“Luckily, he won’t need an expensive college degree to land reliable employment. He’s already on his second professional contract and is set to make a total of $137,200 this season.” Umm…playing careers can end in a second and if that happens he is just another 19 year old kid with no college degree and little real world experience. $137k is a lot of money for someone so young but not enough to set someone up for life. He will have to work in the real world someday. Hopefully he uses the money wisely and goes to college.
College is a sham, you’re just another brick in wall, man.
Pink Floyd! Nice. 🙂
I went to college and I’m currently 31 making $43,000 a year. This kid makes 3-4 times more than me a year and will likely do so for at least the next few years. Even if he gets an injury and falls out of the sport in the next few years he should have more than enough saved up to go to college at his leisure.
This is a US mindset, so many other kids around the world signing contracts and playing at a far lower level instead of going to school and no one questions it. Enjoy the experience as long as you can kid and ride it until the well dries up.
sounds like you made some bad decisions regarding what type of area to study and what steps to take after graduation. keep your chin up buddy.
I’m a high school teacher making about $45,000 after 15 years and a master’s degree, so you could ease off the assumptions of bad choices leading to such a low salary, sometimes very very good choices lead to it. Wouldn’t trade it for any job in the world (except maybe Tim Vickery’s).
Fantastic post US100, He’s down for the count!
Also, thank you very much for the career choice you made. I only can imagine your rewards.
You just want Tim’s medalon.
If I could trade my degree and student loan for his paycheck and career, I’d do it without hesitation. If I got a career-ending injury? Oh well guess its time to go to college w/ the money I just earned.
At $140k a year, Diego’s giving us a hometown discount for sure.
And apparently he was an 18 year old child until today!
What a steal – how did he get another year at childhood over the rest of us?
Who does he think he is? A night school version of Tom Hanks?
Or 19 yr old child!
Did Kobayashi threaten to eat Rowe?