By Craig Forde Globe Correspondent
Braintree native Scott Caldwell put ink to paper, fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing professional soccer for the New England Revolution, who announced the signing Friday. Caldwell is the second player to earned a coveted Homegrown contract with the team, following Leominster’s Diego Fagundez in 2010.
“We’re very pleased to add Scott to our roster as our second Homegrown player signing,” said general manager Michael Burns in a statement. “He’s had a very successful college career at Akron and he’s played very well when we have had him in with our first team during his college breaks. We look forward to integrating him with the first team on a permanent basis when the team reconvenes in a month for the 2013 preseason.”
Fagundez, who signed as a 16-year-old, became an integral part of New England’s offense at the end of last season, starting eight games and scoring two goals in his second pro season.
Caldwell, 21, brings a bit more seasoning, having honed his game with Division 1 soccer power Akron as one of the most decorated stars in program history.
He is no stranger to the Revolution system, captaining their Under-18 squad in its inaugural season in 2008 and training with the team during his summers away from Akron. That gave the Revolution the option to sign him before he was entered into the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.
During four seasons with the Zips, Caldwell was a two-time captain and helped lead Akron to the national championship in 2010. The midfielder was named Mid-American Conference player of the year as a senior and was a two-time All-American.
Of his 20 collegiate goals, the biggest came off a corner kick in the 79th minute of the 2010 national title game against Louisville. It gave Akron a 1-0 victory and its first men’s soccer title.
Caldwell spent his freshman year at Milton Academy, then played out the remainder of his high school career with the United States U-18 squad, earning Parade All-America honors in 2008.
With eight midfielders on the Revolution roster, Caldwell will have to fight for minutes in his first season. But his experience with the team could help him earn more time sooner than expected.
“Right now, I just want to contribute,” said Caldwell. “I haven’t set anything specifically; I just want to help the team in any way.
“I’m hoping [experience] will take away some of the early-day jitters, so I won’t be as nervous playing with them. But I’m sure it will help a lot having played with the guys in the past.”
Playing professionally at Gillette Stadium, in front of friends, family, and the faithful in the Fort, is something Caldwell has been longing to do since he was a kid, and he is more than eager to get started.
“I know it will be a lot of hard work,” said Caldwell. “It was always my goal to play for the Revolution and I am so happy it is finally happening. It’s a really good feeling. I’m really excited to play for my hometown team.”