Just last week, the New England Revolution welcomed me, along with other Season Members to 1776 Revolution Way, the home of the team’s brand-new Revolution Training Facility, opened for use in the 2020 season. While the complex itself was officially announced at the beginning of 2018 season, ground wasn’t officially broken until October of the same year. After a season of waiting and fantastic work from the Front Office to ensure the project’s completion prior to the beginning of the 2020 campaign, the Complex was opened for the squad to use from the moment preseason training began. The importance of the new facility cannot be understated, as new signing Adam Buksa regarded the complex as one of the best he had ever seen and had said the new grounds were certainly a factor in coming to America to play for the Revs.Onto the facility! Before our tour even kicked off, team President Brian Bilello came by the lobby, welcoming us to the new training center, as he was headed off to one of the youth matches the squads had later in the day. The facility itself sits on 70 acres of land, featuring 2 all-grass first-team fields, as well as an off-site field that was formerly for the first team, but now serves as the official Revs II training grounds. The plot of land the facility does occupy sits directly behind Gillette Stadium, tucked away into the nearby forest.
The interior design of the multi-level complex is primarily meant to exemplify the surroundings of the main building, featuring wooded walls, floor to ceiling windows in most rooms, as well as two massive tables in the player lounge that were cut from a tree that had fallen during Hurricane Irene.
Our first stop were the two conference rooms located on the first floor, respectively named “Lexington” and “Concord”. Rather than raising the floor in an auditorium-style setup, the chairs in each conference room become taller as you move toward the back wall. This provides the same views as a raised floor, while also serving as a multi-purpose boardroom, considering the floor is still flat and every chair can be moved around to suit the needs of each room’s occupants.
After years of sharing a workspace, the social media and broadcast crews will have their own areas to conduct their work, as a brand-new social media office was built directly outside the team’s second-floor MLS-level locker room. Specials such as “The Boot Room Breakdown”, “Far Post Podcast”, and many more programs will be recorded and produced in the studio, and the ease of access to the locker room is extremely helpful for both Jeff Lemieux and Elizabeth Pehota in garnering interviews from players fresh off of the training ground.
Running along the wall adjacent to the new media office was a large board, which the team had planned to place still shots of incredible moments from throughout the season, to use as motivation. Just as this wall is, every single facet of the building is custom made, right down to the red, white, and blue carpet pattern that traverses the hallways.
The second floor is home to the Revolution First-Team’s locker room, with custom-made nameplates for each player on the MLS roster. The lockers, (which were, you guessed it, custom-made), are fitted with both a sliding door and a keycode-locked door, as well as an under-bench compartment for storage. Michael Mancienne’s locker certainly stood out, as a four-pack of Guinness sat idly waiting in the back of the Englishman’s locker for some celebratory chugs. The favorite aspect of the room for players it seemed was the windows and amount of ambient lighting in the room, a stark difference from their locker room in Gillette Stadium, tucked away into the concrete walkways that run through 1 Patriot Place.
When the players were asked for input on what they wanted to have in the new facility, the overwhelming majority suggested a barber’s chair, and the option for a barber to come in weekly and trim the players.
A left turn out of the locker room, and out the door, we were face to face with the land that had become the first team’s official training grounds. Two full-size grass fields, with piping running all along the pitch in order to heat or cool the surface depending on the conditions. Off to the side, a smaller turf field meant for small-sided games sits, waiting to be filled with its covering. Brian Bilello, Bruce Arena, and his technical staff all have individual offices fitted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that look directly out onto the training pitch, with doors for direct entry from each office.
In terms of player rehabilitation, the complex is a shining example of how a fitness area should be constructed. Just before the trainer’s area, three massive televisions line the walls of a room housing a whirlpool, ice bath, and underwater treadmill, where Kelyn Rowe seems to adore spending his free time according to Matt Turner. The physical therapy room was lauded as “one of the best I’ve ever seen” by Adam Buksa upon his first visit following his signing this winter, and the statement definitely holds up. 5 beds, 3 chairs, a few massage tables and a private examination room are just some of the incredible features the room has to offer.
Right next door to the PT room was the equipment area, fitted with 8 bikes, 3 treadmills, a wall of free weights, as well as a slew of machines and strength equipment. Specific to this facility, the bikes are only able to run warmup drills and not full workouts, and any weight machine is air-pressurized to minimize joint damage in players looking to build muscle. Team analytics experts have their own office in the fitness area, for ease of access in measuring player data, and providing real-time feedback and training.
Wrapping up the tour, the 2nd-floor balcony that overlooks the lobby is decorated to truly pay homage to the teams of Revolution past, as well as identifying club records and accomplishments. Legends such as Matt Reis, Shalrie Joseph, Taylor Twellman, Clint Dempsey and Steve Ralston overlook the team’s namesake, as a portrait of Robert Kraft and Steve Nicol hoisting the 2008 Superliga trophy sits in the middle of the prominent wall.
With the new facility finally open for use, the 2020 season looks to be one of the most exciting years in team history. While there is a lot of empty space on the “Trophies Won” plaque, the club is looking forward to hopefully at adding 2020 MLS Cup Champions after this upcoming season. The team will begin their 25th Major League Soccer campaign this Saturday, February 29th as they head across the border to take on the Montreal Impact at the Olympic Stadium. The broadcast can be found on NBC Sports Boston, as Brad Feldman and new color commentator Charlie Davies host the 3 PM kickoff.
(Photos are my own)