New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps outlines All-Star path for team MVP Diego Fagundez
BOSTON — Diego Fagundez was the New England Revolution team MVP last year with a team-high 13 goals and seven assists. Now with a new season around the corner, what's the next step for the 19-year-old Uruguayan phenom? Perhaps MLS All-Star?
"Yes, I think it's a byproduct of what he does every day," Revs coach Jay Heaps told reporters at the team's media day and jersey unveiling on Tuesday when asked if Fagundez had All-Star potential in 2014. "I look at it as: He was excellent with what he did last year in scoring and this year, we're looking for him to be more consistent."
The 2013 season was Fagundez's breakout year. After two seasons of limited playing time (11 total starts), Heaps could not keep the winger off the field last year (28 starts). But now it's time for the teenager to take the next step.
“He was excellent last year in what he did: scoring timely goals, and this year his expectation is to be more consistent in the run of play,” continued Heaps. “He’s been able to succeed on his natural ability, and now you’re adding mental strength and more physical awareness. He made it to this league on his natural ability, which is something special, but it’s his mental approach that will separate him from the rest of the guys.”
Fagundez, however, has a more basic objective. Although it may be hard to believe, the Revs Homegrown star says he's merely worried about keeping his place in the starting lineup.
“I’m trying to win my spot no matter what it takes,” he said. “You name a player and then you’ve got seven more who can play that position. Everyone here understands that.
“People say, you scored 13 goals, you scored seven assists, you were MVP. That’s just last year. Everyone knows what I can do, and I need to show them that I want to start off [in 2014] where I ended up last year. Scoring goals and getting assists."