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Jay Heaps introduced as Revolution coach

Posted by Matt Pepin, Staff  November 16, 2011 04:21 PM

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Jay Heaps was introduced today as the new coach of the New England Revolution.

Here's the Q&A from his press conference, provided by the Revolution.

Opening comments:

I am so excited for this opportunity and I want to start Ė I want to thank Mr. Kraft, Jon Kraft and the entire Kraft family for believing in me. Mike, and to Brian, for also believing that Iíll be the right leader for this position, to deliver a new culture but also implement a new vision and an exciting vision.

Now, if I sat here and said that I was honored to take this job, that would be a complete understatement. I think itís pretty clear that I grew up in this area, I was born and raised in this area, so I think my heart has always been with this organization. There hasnít been a time on the field as a player for nine years here where I didnít want to win for this family or win for this organization. To me Ė that meant everything to me.

But over the last two years, as a professional analyst for this team, you start thinking a little differently. I think you start thinking about how to make this team win. I think as a player, I had a role Ė it was to be a passionate, fiery leader. But when you take a step away from that and youíre in an analyst role and youíre looking at it a little differently, you start seeing where those holes are. But there hasnít been a moment that hasnít gone by where I believed that I have the right strengths and the right qualities to lead this team.

I think that itís quite obvious when I walked in to talk to Mike (Burns, the team's general manager) and when I walked in to talk to Brian (Biello, the team's president), I donít have head coaching MLS experience. Itís quite simple. And Iím not going to shy away from that. But what I do bring to the table and what I know I have are the intangibles, those thing that make a head coach great.

First, when I think about that, I think of three things about what a coach needs to be at this level. And one of them is a great leader. A leader that has been tested. A leader that, in a time of water coming over the bow, guys look to him and wanted to be led by that person. That is something that you canít fake. Itís something that comes from within. And you canít turn it on.

Number two is unwavering integrity. I think thatís how you really see someone. If they say what they mean and mean what they say. And thatís been something as a player and as a person Ė the way I live my life. I think thatís another thing you canít turn on.

Lastly, I think itís about communication. Ö I think everyone can tell you that they know me, they know Iím passionate and Iím determined. Iím willing to work hard. Those are just part of who I am. Thatís not something that I think Iíll turn off, or bring or not bring Ė thatís guaranteed. Thatís all good and fine, but if you canít take that and communicate to the team Ė if you canít communicate your vision or where you see this team going, well then thatís where you lose out.

And Iím not going to sit here and say that I donít think experience isnít vital as well. I think good leaders can look in the mirror and say, ĎHereís my strengths, hereís my weaknesses.í Great leaders step in and say, ĎThis is my strength, this is my weakness, now Iíll surround myself with great people to now compliment those weaknesses or strengthen my strengths. Thatís what Iím going to do here. I donít want to hide behind saying experience isnít valuable. It is.

I think now wereí going to, quite frankly, open it up because I think I want to hear where you guys are coming from. But Iím super excited for this opportunity and again, thank you guys for that opportunity.

What went wrong during the 2011 season?

I think, when I just spoke there, we were talking about a culture. We were talking about accountability. Those things are absolutely vital to where our team needs to go. And I think tactically, you can sit there and say, well, is there a hole here, is there a hole there? Maybe somewhere on the field, things are good. I think that overall, our collective team was taken down by a few holes.

I think that Brian was mentioning what kind of vision I have for the team. Iím a big believer that you have to build upon a nucleus of players. You have to Ė with this team here,now Ė thereís a strong core. We need more from that core, but weíre going to add to this core and weíre going to go forward and bring in players that strengthen that core. And then from a locker room perspective, have to have good character in there. Fundamentally, thereís a few things that need to change right off the bat and one of them is game preparation. I think thatís something that I bring to the table immediately, day one.

What we do as a team throughout the week weíre going to look at ourselves internally and weíre going to see what weíve done wrong the past week and how we can changes that. And then weíre going to implement the game plan and see what advantages we can take from video and impose our will on other teams.

And then next, I think Brian touched on it as well, strength and conditioning. That is something that I prided myself on as a player Ė that you have to be able to play as much as you can. You have to be called upon Ė if I need to check on a number and youíre always injured, I want to make sure weíre remedying that and making sure that those things are taken care of. So thatís huge. Those are things that I want to make that we will not be outworked and we will not be outsmarted.

Lastly, and kind of in that vision, from a tactical standpoint Ė I think what gets lost and maybe it was my fault. I was a fiery player and I was a defender and I think that was my role to go out there and motivate and kind of lead from that fiery passionate position. But my whole life, I was an attacking player Ė that was how I played the game. So tactically, I want to have talented attack-minded players that have a vision for getting forward, for having the ability to Ė if youíre in the back Ė I want you to help out the attack. I donít want you to sit back and play too conservative, I want to make sure that we have the mindset that weíre going to go forward and weíre going to attack.

You mentioned three things that it takes to make a great, coach Ė did you learn those from your former coaches?

I think that that is one thing that Iíve been very blessed with, was that I could learn from people. It started in college, obviously I had a great soccer coach in John Rennie and great basketball coach in Coach K. So right off the bat, youíre observing how they work, what theyíre thinking and I always kind of a cerebral player, in that I didnít just say, ĎLet me run through that wall.í I would say ĎAlright, how do we get around that wall? Maybe it means running through it, maybe it means running around it, letís think about it.í But then in this league, Iíve had unbelievable coaches and Iíll start with coach Nicol. He is an amazing coach. And he really taught me how to win and how to believe that when players are asking you step up, you can step up. And Iíve also been very lucky to have Ivo Wortmann as my first coach in Miami, and heís a Brazilian coach Ė very tactical and what I learned from him was how the Brazilians like to attack from the outside positions. I came in as a forward, and he said, ĎLook, I love the fact that you attack, but I want you to do it from the right side and I want you to get forward every time you can.í Then there was Ray Hudson Ė Rockiní Ray Hudson. English style, very direct. I learned quite a bit from him. And then right before Stevie Nicol took over, Fernando Clavijo. Where he came in, he was a very passionate guy. He was a playersí coach in the sense that a lot of the players loved the way he was. And so you can put that across the way and kind of see where it goes, but no question where I am today, I have taken a lot from what Iíve learned.

Was your hire a risk?

I think that with risk comes reward. And I think that Ė as I was mentioning before Ė what I may lack in MLS experience, I think some of the intangibles I have completely make up for that. I donít think itís a risk because I know what Iím going to bring to the table. I think that if Iím sitting where you are, yeah, I could absolutely say itís a risk. But I know what I bring every day. I know what kind of people Iím going to get around me to help succeed. That, to me, is so important.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Corner Kicks: Julian Cardillo offers insight and analysis about the New England Revolution as well as European and international soccer.

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