Thursday, June 12, 2014
Revs reflect on national team experience
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The 2014 World Cup kicks off on Thursday with Brazil and Croatia facing off in the opening match, but many on the New England Revolution will be paying close attention to the United States squad, which starts group play on Monday vs. Ghana.
While the Revolution didn’t have anyone called up for the tournament by U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a handful of familiar faces from the local XI have donned the U.S. jersey during their playing careers.
On Wednesday, ESPN Boston spoke to the four members of the Revolution who have received caps with the U.S. national team about what it’s like to wear the U.S. crest on their chest.
Coach Jay Heaps (4 caps)
“It took a while (for me to wear the U.S. jersey). It was a lot of camps, and I’d been on the bench for a lot of games in the early part of my career. I didn’t get my (first) cap until, really, my last year playing (2009), so it was long-awaited, but it felt special. I was honored to get it, and I was honored to have been able to listen to the national anthem as they’re playing it, and having the U.S. jersey on. It’s something special.”
“Obviously, it’s a special, special thing to be able to put on the U.S. jersey and represent your country. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s something I dreamed of as a kid, to be able to do well was even more of a dream come true. But it was always something that I knew I had the ability to do, so it kind of drove me to do better and better. Unfortunately, I had a car accident (in 2009) because I felt that I was on the verge of really becoming the player that I always knew I could be. It’s still tough to watch the games, but I’m probably one of the biggest fans of supporting all of my friends and the national team.”
“It’s a blessing and an honor. When you’re putting on that jersey, you know you’re not just playing for yourself, you’re playing for your country and it’s a joy. I’m very blessed, and happy to be able to experience that a few times. Hopefully, I can experience it more, and that’s definitely a goal of mine to try to get back on the national team.”
On what it was like to wear the U.S. national team jersey for the first time:
“It was really surreal. It was kind of crazy; obviously, it’s just like you’re playing another soccer game, like you’ve played so many (before). But knowing that it was my first game with the national Team, just looking at the jersey, and putting it on, I just -- I don’t know, I was just really giddy and stuff, and very excited. I had some butterflies, and it was just an amazing feeling.”