New England Revolution looks for playoff bid

The Tech chats with rookie midfielder Scott Caldwell about playing in the MLS

As MLS nears the end of regular season play, the hunt for a playoff spot is becoming heated. One of the teams competing for a spot in the playoffs is the New England Revolution. On Sept. 19, 2013, I had the chance to interview New England Revolution rookie midfielder, Scott Caldwell right after their practice and ask him about how the season has been so far, their chances for playoff qualification and how it feels to be a professional athlete at an age where most of his peers are in a university.

The Tech: How would you summarize the season so far both for the team as a whole and yourself individually?

Scott Caldwell: I was a rookie this year, so I was happy with the playing time I got. In upcoming years, I will look to improve as well. As a team, I believe that we’ve had a good season so far. We are in the hunt for a play-off spot. We have to win as many of our games possible and finish off in the best position possible for it to be a great season.

TT: The MLS approaches the final stretch, what do you think the chances are for the Revs to qualify for the playoffs?

SC: It is definitely in our hands. We are a big enough team to win all of our remaining matches and will look to do so. If we perform as we are capable of we will have a high chance of qualifying.

TT: What is your favorite part of playing soccer?

SC: I’d have to say that the best thing is going onto the pitch with the fans behind me and just kicking the ball around. Doing what I love for a profession.

TT: Which player would you consider to be your idol?

SC: I have two idols. Growing up, the television showed a lot of Manchester United matches. Back then, they had David Beckham so he was my first idol. As I grew up and began to watch more soccer, I soon idolized Xavi from Barcelona. I love his playing style and have to say that he is my idol.

TT: How does it feel to be a professional athlete at an age when most of your peers are in college?

SC: It’s awesome when you think of it that way. I’m doing what I love to do for a living. However, there’s more to life after soccer. I’m trying to perform at this level for as long as possible.

Since that interview, the Revs have won a game against the DC United and have tied the Houston Dynamo. I was fortunate enough to attend the latter match at the Gillette Stadium. The Revs had prepared a special night for college students in the New England area that included a tailgate party before the match. Students from Boston and neighboring states like Rhode Island and Maine came for the match to enjoy the fun. The tailgate party consisted of a cornhole tournament, penalty shootout, FIFA 14 and a barbecue.

After the party, we moved into the stadium to watch the Revs face off against the Dynamo. The first half did not see lots of opportunities on goal with both teams only getting slight chances to score and not being able to convert. The second half was much more exciting with the Revs playing quick, attacking soccer and getting in good opportunities at goal. They finally managed to convert a chance with Sene’s beautiful finish in the 64th minute. However, the Houston Dynamo were quick to equalize with a Will Bruin strike from close range in the 75th minute. The remaining minutes did not see any more goals although the Revs did come close to pulling off a win.

Having attended many matches in Turkey among twenty or thirty thousand passionate fans chanting all sorts of creative lyrics, I was not quite sure what to expect from an MLS game. I believe that there is a certain mystical quality to attending a sporting event at a large venue, and I was surprised to see the lower level of the stadium completely full. The fans were not like the ones in Turkey, but they were passionate even though there were not very many of them. The fans brought all sorts of flags and a drum to create the rhythm for chants. Albeit, the chants need some variety and it would really wpay off if the rest of the stadium sang along, but I felt it was a good start.

As soccer becomes more and more popular in the United States, the concept of “fan power” will also evolve. It is good to see teams like the New England Revolution hosting ‘College Nights’ to bolster the love of the sport in college students and I believe their efforts will pay off by increasing their fan base.