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Reis, Noonan looking forward to facing former teammate Heaps as members of Galaxy staff

New England Revolution v Chivas USA


CARSON, Calif. — When head coach Jay Heaps and the New England Revolution take on the LA Galaxy in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final, a simple glance toward the hosts’ bench will yield the sight of a pair of familiar faces.

Heaps, who featured for the Revs from 2001-09 before taking the role of head coach in 2011, is all too familiar with two members of the LA Galaxy coaching staff: assistant coach Pat Noonan and goalkeeping coach Matt Reis.

Noonan and Reis were Revolution mainstays throughout the past decade, as the duo combined for 373 appearances for the club throughout their playing careers. Heaps, who advanced to three MLS Cup finals as a player with his two coaching counterparts, is excited at the prospect at facing two men that he became so close with throughout his MLS career.

“I look across their team and you’ve got a guy like Matt Reis and Pat Noonan, two guys that I look at as teammates for life, guys that I played 10 years with, that I respect to heck,” Heaps said. “You’ve got two teams that really respective each other, not only the players, but also the coaches and I think that plays into a great game for Sunday.”

Both Reis and Noonan were quick to talk up the qualities that they saw in Heaps the player that have led to such success from Heaps the coach. Labeled as a hard-working, calculated leader by his former teammates, Heaps’ accomplishments as a coach haven’t come as much of a surprise to Noonan.

“I expected success with whatever he did because he’s a very hard worker,” Noonan said. “He’s committed to his craft, and I think he has a passion for the game and you can see that in the way that he has acquired the players that he’s acquired and the way he’s turned that team around over the course of the last three years, so it’s not a surprise to me.

“I’m very happy for him and the success he’s having. I had the privilege of doing the B and A (coaching) license with him, so that’s when he started his coaching career and I could see the work and detail that went into his preparation. It’s no surprise to me that within three years, they’re sitting here competing for an MLS title. I’m very happy for him on a personal level, for both him and his family, because I know how much this means for him.”

The trio’s road following their respective playing careers have seen each take a different path into the coaching world. Heaps, who retired in 2009, entered the world of finance with Morgan Stanley before making his return to the game. Noonan bounced around MLS before calling it a career and accepting the gig with the Galaxy in January 2013, while Reis joined up with his former teammate in LA nearly a year later, just two months after playing his final game for the Revolution.

While each of the three have taken a different path, Reis believes any one of them could have transitioned into a head-coaching position. Reis, however, credited Heaps for his work to build the Revolution while also pointing to the right-place, right-time situation that led to Heaps’ current success.

“It worked out for Jay timing-wise and I know a lot of guys would have loved that job,” said Reis. “You see it now with a lot of young coaches that it just takes an opportunity and there’s been a lot of opportunities lately for some of the younger crew to come through. It’s kind of the evolution of our game.”

That evolution will now see teammates go up against one another from the sidelines on Sunday, but regardless of how the game has changed or what colors they will adorn over the weekend, the trio of teammates will be forever linked for their successes with the Revolution.

“I wouldn’t say (it’s) weird. I’m happy for the organization, for Jay and for the turnaround that they’ve had the past three or four years,” said Noonan. “That was a big part of me, those first five or six years of my career, so there are still some close ties there.

“I’m happy to see them back, but I’m on the other end this week. Obviously, I’m hoping for a Galaxy victory,” added Noonan. “…But after it’s all said and done, it’ll be nice to talk about the game and the season and the turnaround they’ve had.”


  1. Is there any news about tickets sales, how’s the grass (pitch) doing, when does revolution arrive to LA, Is Beckham going, is there going to be extra seating.
    It’s very sad not even MLS website has video or info, MLS should learn from Super Bowl week and show the stadium, practices, make espn be there all week.
    This is pathetic, this is why MLS is treated like crap from non MLS fans and casual fans.
    I want MLS to grow and be a powerful league and what’s going on MLS, it’s MLS cup week.

    • I agree certainly that MLS and its partners could be doing more do market the game. I tend to leave my TV on ESPN when I’m lingering around the house, and they have done very little to sell the game to non-soccer audiences, which is criminal. I wouldn’t expect “College Football Gameday” or anything, but the promos are few and far between (and very low budget). Unfortunately, this is “selection weekend” for the College Football Playoff, and with NCAA football basically being ESPN’s bread and butter live programming, the timing isn’t fortuitous.

      As for your questions, I can telll you that the game is most definitely sold out for the “fully-open” 27,000 capacity (although Forbes reports avg. ticket price is below expectation), and that the pitch will be just fine (the rain here in LA on Tues-Weds was heavy by our extremely low standards, but nothing that would cause problems for Sunday. And it’s sunny and beautiful at 7:45 am right now). Can’t tell you anything about Becks, other than that I suspect he’ll be there if he’s in town.

      • I know I will get bombarded with negative comments once I say this but MLS needs the international calendar ONCE MLS has teams in warmer cities.
        By playing from March to December or November, MLS practically goes versus MLB season & playoffs , NCAA entire whole football season, NASCAR which is so boring but gets big tv viewing, 3/4 of NFL.
        It would be better for MLS to play from august to May. Simple as that, have a damn winter break from beginning Mid December to after Super Bowl week. During winter break have friendlies or a tournament in Hawaii or in non MLS markets.
        Then MLS finishes in May just like all the big soccer leagues in the world, but sure it would be nice to have 26 to 28 teams with their stadium first.
        Truth hurts MLS and MLS will never compete against NCAA football and NFl with that schedule they have.

      • Well I will bombard you myself based on your assessment of the dates, which is atrociously off to the point of comedy. One of the more self-defeating arguments I’ve ever seen maybe. It’s that bad, dude.

        I don’t even know where you got the idea the current MLS calendar encompasses the “NCAA entire whole football season”. Perhpas you don’t watch a whole lot of college football, but the season basically starts around the exact same time as the major European leagues (2-3 weeks max difference) , NFL is the same. Since most all league soccer games take place on the weekends, these are your competitors, and they are huge. EPL can manage because of the time difference— unless MLS teams plan on filling the stadums at 6:00 am, they probably won’t want to do this.

        And the day MLS goes head to head with NASCAR for fans, you’ll know soccer has definitely arrived.

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