Joe Rice, Marzuq Puckerin: Next In Line?

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Earl Edwards Jr.’s Injury; What it Means For Rice and Puckerin

Earl Edwards Jr., Revolution’s newest keeper, had arthroscopic knee surgery done recently. Edwards Jr. will be out for the next four to six weeks for recovery since the surgery went off successfully. Since this happened, Revolution II’s Joe Rice will get a better chance at proving his worth. Whatever time that Edwards Jr. would have gotten in the preseason games, Rice will have to be ready to show up big-time in any chance he gets in the next few weeks.

Joe Rice, Great Shot Stopper In USL League One

Joe Rice showed his worth already to the goalkeeping coaches at Revolution II in 2020. During his time with Revs II last year, he accrued 45 saves over nine appearances. Rice managed to stand up to three teams and earn clean sheets. Rice suffered a meniscus tear during a September 25th, 2020 match against Orlando B. Backup goalkeeper Keegan Meyer stepped in for the rest of the season. Revolution II let go of Meyer in the offseason.

If Rice played in all games last season, he definitely would have topped the league in saves. The Revs II found Joe to be pivotal in most of their wins at the beginning of the season. Overall, Rice performed highly while in games with Revolution II. It’s no surprise that the Revolution first team called him up for the preseason. With Edwards Jr. is out for the next few weeks, he’ll be the third keeper to Matt Turner and Brad Knighton. Who knows, if Rice shows out, he could create a push for Knighton’s back-up position. With Knighton sitting stagnant for a year or so, Rice might be what Brad needs to push his game to the next level.

Marzuq Puckerin, Following In Uncle’s Footsteps

@JonathanSigal wrote up a piece on Marzuq Puckerin in 2018 for @NESoccerJournal

Rice gets that upgrade to play in the preseason games, so currently down at the second team, Marzuq Puckerin will fill in. He will be most likely to step up to the first keeper role at Revolution II. Puckerin has no prior USL League One experience besides training with Atlanta United 2. However, he has trained with West Ham United academy, Queens Park Ranger’s academy, and Aberdeen FC’s academy. Marzuq has also trained in camps up at the U-17 level of US Soccer. With all those accolades behind him, he can create his story with Revolution II at just 18 years old.

Puckerin’s uncle is Shaka Hislop, famed West Ham United goalkeeper, where he played in over 100 games. He started at Reading and also played with Newcastle United and Portsmouth. Hislop even made a stop into MLS with FC Dallas in 2006. He didn’t start professionally playing soccer until 1992, at 23 years old. Before that, the dual national was with the Howard Bison college team from 1987 to 1991. If Marzuq is already getting looks from QPR, West Ham, and Aberdeen, then he’s falling in line to make his own story as his uncle did.

Marzuq Puckerin, ready for the upcoming Revs II season / Credit: Revolution Communications

The Outlook On The Keeper Union This Season

With Joe Rice up at the first team, this has allowed the Revs II to bring back 16-year-old Matthew Tibbetts into training. He is likely to battle both Marzuq and Eliot Jones for some time throughout the preseason games. Tibbetts has played up a group or two every year he’s played since joining the Revs Academy. I wouldn’t count him out for proving he deserves a Revolution II contract this year.

Joe Rice’s trajectory will fall to his gloves and making the most of his time with the first-team preseason games. If Rice proves himself, Earl Edwards Jr. may find himself in a battle when he returns from injury. With that happening, the entire goalkeeper union gets that much stronger. If Rice pushes Earl Edwards to train harder and better to come back, everyone in the goalkeeper union will need to keep their levels up. Turner will keep his spot the entire year with Knighton at his back.

My Personal Hope For The GK Union

Matthew Tibbets training with Revolution II / Credit: Revolution Communications

Matt Turner will continue doing what is necessary throughout the season. Joe Rice proves himself in a big chance that Bruce gives him while he’s up at the first-team preseason. Marzuq Puckerin keeps up his ability and gets seen in the USL League One games he’s likely to trade for time with Joe Rice for this year. Puckerin might head off for some trials. Possibly not this year, but soon, and he can start his trajectory as his uncle did. Tibbetts keeps flourishing against Eliot Jones and Puckerin and earns a Revs II contract this year. Eliot Jones will be proving whether he deserves his spot on Revolution II without being contracted.

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