There has been one constant in the New England Revolution squad for the past ten seasons, number 14, Diego Fagundez. Sadly this changes going into the 2021 season. As of December 8, 2020, Diego Fagundez is no longer a Revolution player.
Fagundez signed as the first Home Grown Player for the Revolution in November of 2010. His first season with the Revolution saw limited time; as a 16-year-old, he had six total appearances, of which three were starting. In 316 minutes of action, he did bag two goals, making him the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS; he is now the 4th. He continued to show promising signs with increased minutes in 2012, same goals with two assists in 775 minutes before having his best statistical year in a Revolution uniform in 2013.
2013 saw Diego seized on his increased playing time, afforded him by head coach Jay Heaps. Fagundez showed tremendous growth during his time on the pitch. He finished the campaign leading the Revolution in goals with 13 and second in assists with 5. 2013 also saw Diego get his first playoff experience, going 180 minutes against Sporting KC, in the Conference Semi-Final loss. While 2014 saw a decrease in goals and assists, Fagundez was still an integral piece to the Revolution’s attack. Contributing five goals and four assists to the MLS Cup Runner-Up season, Diego was the second-highest scorer behind Lee Nguyen and tied for second on the team in assists.
The next three seasons, under the steady reigns of Jay Heaps, Fagundez saw the continuation of his regular playing time and found consistency in his statistics. In both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he scored six goals, which kept him in the club’s top performers. He also compiled three and six assists, respectively. With a revamped offense and more settled in, Kai Kamara 2017 saw an increase in both Fagundez’s goals scored and assists as he scored and supplied 7.
2018 saw a new manager Brad Friedel come in for the released Jay Heaps and a more creative role of Diego with the eventual departure of Lee Nguyen. Combining well with speed from new winger Cristian Penilla and interchanging with the false nine of Teal Bunbury, Fagundez took the most of his opportunities. In possibly Diego’s most complete season in Revolution uniform, he scored nine goals and provided eight assists. He was proving himself to be a vital cog in the Friedel machine.
2019 brought changes and challenges to deal with. Incoming creative force Carles Gil took the number ten responsibilities from Diego. These changes pushed him out wide and brought him into a new role as a holding defensive midfielder. Combined with a mid-season change of management and the incoming of an additional attacking midfielder in Gustavo Bou, saw Fagundez’s time diminish and continued to see his role more focused as a holding midfielder. 2019 saw a downtick in his numbers, but Diego still contributed with two goals and three assists, his lowest totals since his second season in the league. 2020 was a weird year all around for most players, but Diego again saw his minutes diminish. Played more on the wing than through the creative outlet in the middle, Diego scored the only goal in the midfield during the regular season. On October 28, 2020, his final appearance against New York Red Bull was the 261st of his tieing him with another legend, Shalrie Joseph, for the club’s most regular-season appearances.
Diego Fagundez’s performances on the field for the club were always ones of effort. No matter the situation he was coming into for the game, he would always push and try to ensure the club a victory or strive to turn around a result. No matter what was going on off the field, he always put his heart and soul on the line for the club, and the fans understood, appreciate, and love him for it. His final stat line from his ten years at the club reads: 261 appearances, 186 starts, 53 goals, and 37 assists; not only for these stats but his drive and determination had him named to the Revolution All-Time 11 for the first 25 seasons, but also a club legend.
If his on-field accomplishments were not enough to cement his status as a club legend, what he has meant to the New England Revolution off the field firmly shows that he is a legend at this club. Being the first homegrown player signed by the Revolution, this gave local youth soccer players an example of what hard work could get you. He laid the groundwork for players like Scott Caldwell, Justin Rennicks, and Damien Rivera to have a pathway from the Academy to the first team. Diego always had time for the fans, especially the younger generation. He was one of the players who were available for pictures and autographs. His interactions with the younger fans, and his appreciation for the fans, made him a favorite and secured his status as a club legend.
On a personal note about all that can be said to Diego is thank you. Thank you for all the happy memories. Thank you for all the fun goal celebrations. Thank you for always giving your all on the pitch no matter what was going on. Thank you for always coming over to salute The Fort after any performance, good or bad, by the team. Thank you for bleeding for this club for ten years. Thank you for helping to show the youth that they could make it to the first. Finally, thank you for representing the club with the utmost professionalism during your time here. While parting can be a feeling of sorrow, wishing you nothing but success and happiness in your future endeavors. Hope to see you back in a Revolution kit. – Jeremy