FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The 2010 season may have ended 10 days ago for the New England Revolution, but the duties attached to the campaign haven't concluded yet.
As other teams wrestle with their playoff duties, the Revs take to the practice field to wind down their calendar year with a series of post-season practices.
The extra training sessions started last week and will continue through the end of this week, according to Revolution coach Steve Nicol.
“It's a long time between the end of the season and the following year,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com last week. “We don't want to be off until (training camp).”
The additional practices mark a new chapter for the Revolution after they had made eight consecutive playoff appearances. While the situation isn't ideal, the offseason work can be used to encourage future improvement, according to Revolution defender Chris Tierney.
“You just try to make the best of it,” Tierney said. “Obviously, there's nothing left to play for this season, but we're looking forward to next season. There's always the aspect of trying to get better as individual players. Any time you can come out and train, it's an opportunity to get better. I think that is our focus.”
Improving before the 2011 campaign will likely require some changes ahead of next season. Nicol has said repeatedly that he plans to infuse the squad with new faces, while the Expansion Draft set to stock Portland and Vancouver at the end of November could strip one or two of the present players off the roster.
Despite the impending alterations, the Revs can still use these few remaining training sessions to bolster the foundation for the future.
“We're constantly trying to get better, so that obviously looks forward to 2011,” Tierney said. “There is definitely going to be a group of players who will be around next year and who will be big contributors to this team. We have to focus on ourselves, getting smarter and using the experience of training with each other to get better because this year wasn't good enough, quite frankly. We have a lot of growing up to do.”