FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – At first blush, it may seem a little strange to see a team back on the practice field following their final game of the season.
But that’s precisely what the Revolution, along with a handful of fellow non-playoff clubs, will be doing for the next few weeks. The reason, according to head coach Jay Heaps, is two-fold.
“There are things that we’re working on still,” Heaps said. “We have these guys for another two weeks and we’re going to bring in additional players.”
Therein lies one of the hidden benefits of extending the practice schedule: the ability to trial potential signings. And with the Revs coaching staff already eying 2013, now is the time to start finding new players.
As for the players who are already on the roster, Heaps admits that the focus of the offseason training -- which is slated to run through Nov. 16 -- won’t be tactical. Rather, it’s working on the basics, such as passing and dead-ball situations.
“We want to push a couple things,” Heaps said. “We can keep them here and start building that regiment of how we want this season to lead into 2013.”
TALE OF TWO OFFSEASONS
One distinct difference between this year’s offseason training experience and last year’s isn’t all that difficult to pinpoint. Last year, the team commenced its offseason schedule without a head coach, as Steve Nicol parted ways with the club following the 2011 season finale.
Even though then-assistant Steve Myles led the training sessions, the absence of a bona fide head coach left some players unsure of what was expected of them.
“There’s a lot more structure this year,” Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. “Especially with the offseason training that we’re getting into. So I think that gives everybody a little more of a comfort zone.”
BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
It wasn’t the way Stephen McCarthy wanted to finish up his second season in Foxborough.
But after concussive-like symptoms sidelined him for the Revolution’s final three games, the center back has no qualms about taking the recovery one step at a time.
“I just had a few lingering symptoms,” McCarthy said. “None of it was very serious, but we just decided to take it real slow."
McCarthy believes the start of the symptoms occurred in training leading up to the Sept. 29 game at Houston, which he went the full 90. He said he experienced a lingering headache and “felt a little off” following the game.
Instead of ignoring the signs, McCarthy, who was voted Best Defender by the Revolution media this season, worked with the team’s medical staff to ensure a smooth recovery. And he’s glad he did.
“It’s really hard to tell with concussions,” McCarthy said. “You kind of have to be the doctor for yourself because you’re the only person that can tell if something feels wrong.”