New Revolution 2022 Superdraft Picks
Three picks, Two Choices
In the MLS Superdraft this past week, the New England Revolution used two of their three picks to add depth pieces that they are looking to mold into the future of this club. In the first round, they surprised many by selecting Jacob Jackson, a goalkeeper from Loyola Marymount University. They followed this up with their 2nd round selection of Ben Reveno, a defender from UCLA. They declined to use their third-round pick. While this first season, both these guys look like additions for Revolution II, with all the competitions, there will be fighting for bench spots, especially in the US Open Cup.
Heir to the Throne?
In a surprise to many fans, the New England Revolution selected a goalkeeper with the 24th overall pick in the Superdraft. With three goalkeepers already on the MLS roster and two on the Revolution II MLS NEXT Pro roster, this organization seems to have a backlog of goalkeepers.
Incumbent Matt Turner may return for part of the 2022 season, and established number two Brad Knighton was resigned on the MLS side. Third choice keeper Earl Edwards Jr. is still under contract filling out the senior teams’ goalkeepers.
At Revs II, the loss of USL League One human highlight reel Joe Rice means the starting spot is up for grabs. While they have 18-year-old youth product Marzuq Puckerin and 24-year-old German Yannik Oettl on the roster, they have combined three appearances and two starts. All of these appearances are from the German. This shows that the starting spot on Revs II is up for grabs, which could be why they drafted the goalkeeper.
Get To Know Your Keeper
Jackson, a 21-year-old goalkeeper, hails from Escondido, California but spent his youth career developing at the RSL Academy. Coming through at the same time as USMNT Sebastian Soto, he was invited to join the first team to be part of their preseason in 2018. Jackson spent eight days in Arizona and trained with and learned from MLS great Nick Rimando. From an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune in 2018, Rimando had this to say about the young shot-stopper, “He’s someone that always had open eyes and open ears when he was training with us, and it was a breath of fresh air to see that there are kids that are like that and are going through our system.” As well as, “Jackson was hard on himself when he made mistakes, which the veteran goalkeeper took as a good sign. But he also encouraged Jackson to have a short memory.”
After leaving the Academy, Jackson went onto collegiate athletics at Loyola Marymount. He did not play his freshman year, but in his second year with Loyola, he started 16 matches, going 9-4-3. Conceding 16 goals in the four losses and three draws combined but had nine shutouts, including a string of six in a row. After losing a year to Covid, he had a commanding 2021. He appeared in 9 games and went 6-0-3, allowing two goals to save 19 shots; he was named WCC Goalkeeper of the Year for his efforts.
When watching the highlight reel of Jackson, you can see the athleticism that he possesses. He looks to be very quick off his line, and in general, has excellent speed for a goalkeeper. He also looks to have good reactions. These qualities remind me of what Matt Turner has in his locker, just not as polished.
His skillset gives me hope that he can develop into a reliable MLS starter. Also, when Kevin Hitchcock suggests to the Revolution to draft him, I believe that he sees something he can create. If he can find a trajectory and work hard, who knows what his ceiling currently could be.
2022, What Could It Be?
With Matt Turner leaving the Revolution for Arsenal in the summer window, the draft pick makes more sense. They see a player they can develop with Revolution II, not bringing back their two-year starter and developing their future number one. Between working with both Hitchcock and Revs II, goalkeeper coach Yuta Nomura Jackson has all the tools and aids at his disposal. He should get the starts for this side and, depending on when Turner leaves, are the third-string for the first team.
Kessler’s Future Partner?
In a pick that fits the Revolution’s needs more, late in the second round of the MLS Superdraft, the New England Revolution selected defensemen Ben Reveno out of UCLA. When you look at the rosters of both the Revolution and Revolution II, there is a lack of depth at the center back position.
While the Revolution just signed veteran defender Omar Gonzalez to a two-year deal, their overall depth at CB is lacking. There are four recognized center backs in the first team and the development squad is returning one of last season’s two main center backs. Collin Verfurth is currently not expected back; it opens the slot for the upcoming MLS NEXT Pro season. Sean O’Hearn, the young Georgetown graduate, may be back for this upcoming season. We won’t know the roster for Revs II until the rules are finalized.
The 22-year old center back, adds another Californian to the Revolution’s ranks. From San Jose, he started his career in the San Jose Earthquake academy. Playing with them for three years up to U-17’s, Reveno continued his development from playing with club side De Anza Force. In his three years at the academy, he started 42 matches and made 58 appearances, notching three goals.
He continued his career at UC Irvine, and as a freshman, he started three games out of his ten appearances before using his redshirt option. He transferred to UCLA, where he was a regular for the Bruins over his three seasons. In his time in Westwood, Reveno made 49 appearances, 47 starts, and compiled one goal and six assists. His performances during his senior season earned his All-Far West second-team honors.
THE MAN WHO WILL MARSHALL THE BACKLINE
Watching Reveno’s highlight reel, he has a solid defensive mind. Playing at either right-sided or left-sided center back throughout college, his positioning and ability to read the situation were reliable on whichever side he was playing. He does show some strength in the air, but with this being against college players, it will be interesting to see how it develops against professionals.
Ben has the look of someone who potentially could step up into the first team given a year to develop. He also seems to compliment what Kessler has done for this team. Being able to turn him into the right side of a center-back pairing could bring success for the Revs in the future.
What To Expect in 2022
I think Ben Reveno will spend the year developing with Revolution II. With four center backs on the MLS roster and AJ Delagarza, who can provide cover, I do not see a spot for him with the first team. He shows what having Revolution II is for, getting talent to give them the game time to develop and grow to become members of the first team. If he can train with and learn from Farrell and Gonzalez over the next year, it will help him immensely. Small note, I have not seen him in LA training with the first team.
Overall, the Superdraft 2022 selections were solid pieces, in my opinion. Jackson looks to have a similar play style and skill set to the current (for now) number one, Matt Turner. The player’s will and defense will only adjust to his intricacies and call-outs. If he does get thrown into the fire, the last time the Revs threw an unknown into the starting limelight, it turned out pretty well.
Reveno has the look of a solid MLS center-back. With two center backs on the Revs roster getting up in the years, developing another young center back is a good decision. I think his future has a higher ceiling with the Revolution, though things can change as he is still young.
With Revolution II, they can develop these players in house to fit into the system they see. Due to this, I feel that this was a good Superdraft for the future.