Revolution

Twellman's retirement 'not a choice'

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Twellman's retirement 'not a choice'

FOXBORO -- After more than a season of being unable to play for the New England Revolution, Taylor Twellman announced Wednesday he is hanging up his cleats.

Twellman, the victim of concussion issues, has suffered an unwelcome fate for an athlete -- forced to watch his teammates struggle without him.

"To come to every game knowing you're not going to play and somehow walk into that locker room and look every one of your teammates in the face -- and they'll tell you I come in loud, obnoxious -- that's the hardest thing," said an emotional Twellman, who admitted that boisterous persona lasted as far as the parking lot.

"Every single time -- and I'm tearing up now -- I'd walk right in the car and I'd cry. Because I did nothing for them and it's the one thing this team needed," said Twellman, who scored 101 goals in his MLS career. "We didn't make the playoffs this year. I'll tell you why: They needed a goal scorer. And I wasn't there."

The pain of feeling he let his teammates down will fade with retirement. Sure, Twellman would have loved a farewell tour, a season during which each stop would feature a celebration of his highly-productive career. But it is not an option; this decision is out of his hands.

"It's unfortunate to lose a career to an injury," said Twellman. "I don't have a choice, unfortunately. When you're told that if you want to live your life and be healthy then soccer needs to stop, the decision's made for me."

For two years, Twellman has undergone different treatments in hopes of curing his ailment -- acupuncture, sitting in a dark room for months, and so on. But the effort was of no avail. The phrased peppered at Twellman by his father -- "Give 'em hell; you never know when it's your last game" -- proved an omen.

"I sure as hell didn't know New York last year was going to be my last game," said Twellman.

"The hardest part about this injury is I can do zero about it," said Twellman, calling it the most humbling experience of his life. "I've done it all, I've tried it all, I'm sick and I'm injured."

Despite the career-ending injury, Twellman wouldn't change much. Maybe he'd add a few outcome-changing goals in the disappointing MLS Cup matches. The overall experience, though, he would take again and again.

"I did something that I love and I was born to do it and I got paid to do and have fun," said Twellman. "Honestly, wrap your heads around that. All I can say is, 'Are you kidding me?' "

The next step

Twellman has started a foundation to rebuild Boston's athletic fields. He will also begin offering Twellman soccer camps in 2011, providing a place for the children to build their dreams, much like he had growing up around the professional soccer fields where his dad played.

Perhaps most important will be the challenge he is taking up to help educate on the topic of head injuries in sports.

"It's the most frustrating thing to have people look at you and not know you're injured -- you don't have a cast on your arm, you're not on crutches and it's an invisible injury," said Twellman. "I hate the fact my career has ended on a brain injury -- a concussion -- but I have an opportunity to educate parents and kids on the dangers about concussions and their effects."

Twellman is one of 300 athletes to join a Boston University medical program in which he is volunteering to donate his brain to research. By following through with his promise to educate on head injuries and making a postmortem donation to science, he'll be doing to concussions what his dad always advised -- he'll give 'em hell.

Revolution introduce Brad Friedel as coach

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Revolution introduce Brad Friedel as coach

New Revolution coach Brad Friedel was introduced to the media at Gillette Stadium on Monday and promised his "obsession with winning" will filter down to the rest of the organization.

“We have a lot of work ahead but we do have a lot of good players here, a lot of good pieces to this club,” Friedel said.  “One thing we can guarantee you — because you never want to guarantee too much in sport — is that you will get 100 percent commitment from myself and staff, as well as the players.

“And we’re going to be, hopefully, get to the obsession that I have with winning. And we’ll work our best to try and get those wins on the board that we can.”

Since retiring as a player, Friedel, a former UMNT goalkeeper who spent most of his career in Europe and the Premier League, has coached the US U-19 team and worked as a soccer analyst for FOX Sports. He's the eighth coach in the MLS franchise's 22-year history. He replaces Jay Heaps, the Revs' second-longest serving coach who led New England to playoff appearances from 2013-15, including an MLS Cup Final appearance in 2014. 

Friedel said it won't be difficult to adjust to coaching in the MLS after a long career in Europe. 

“That won't be hard to adjust to at all," Freidel said. "Not every team over in Europe or England, for that matter, has these enormous budgets. Working at clubs like Blackburn as a player, but then at Tottenham, I know it's a big club, but they work under a strict budget at Tottenham. You learn to work under whatever restrictions or not there may or may not be... 

"Whatever budget is given to us, we will work with. I think what's really important is the mentality of the players. Fans and players are usually the two most important things at every single club. Us as a staff, we're employed to try to make those players better. So, whatever players are in front of us, that's going to be our focus – on getting a team environment, a winning environment, and an environment where every player wants to work hard. It doesn't really matter where your budgets are.”

Friedel said he likes the potential on the Revs roster. 

"I think there's a lot of potential within the group. We're not going to go into details at the first press conference obviously with the squad itself. We have a lot of meetings ahead with that, but there's a lot of potential in the group... 

"This is not a team that is in disarray, that's for sure. I think there needs to be little tweaks to it, and then my staff and I need to go in and try to mold the team and get the confidence back. I think if you see – you can look at stats, stats don't lie – over 60 goals conceded is too much and that's something we'll need to address. But, we know what we need to address and we'll work hard to address those issues."
 

Report: Revolution hire Brad Friedel as new head coach

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Report: Revolution hire Brad Friedel as new head coach

The New England Revolution have hired Brad Friedel as their new head coach, according to Ives Galarcep of Goal.com.

Friedel, 46, played goalkeeper for the Columbus Crew in 1996 and 1997 before spending 18 years in the Premier League and was the starting keeper for the United States National Team in the 2002 World Cup. He has spent the last two years coaching the United States Under-19 National Team.

The Revs fired head coach Jay Heaps and September and Tom Soehn filled in as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.