FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It took what Lee Nguyen dubbed a “humbling experience” to bring the former PSV Eindhoven player to his first training session in New England on Tuesday morning.
The 25-year-old midfielder trained with his Revolution teammates for the first time since joining the club through the waiver draft on Friday. Vancouver acquired Nguyen through the lottery process in December, but the Whitecaps surprisingly cut the former US international loose last Thursday to comply with league roster regulations.
Although the decision caught both Nguyen and the Revolution by surprise, the versatile attacking player said he is happy to make the move to Massachusetts and settle into his new surroundings.
“It's always unexpected when you get waived,” Nguyen told MLSsoccer.com. “You don't know where you're going to go, but I'm happy to be here. Jay [Heaps, Revolution coach] and the staff have been great. I'm happy with this team. I think it's going to be a great season.”
Heaps ran the rule over his new midfielder during a brief and brisk practice and said he believes he will offer plenty of technical qualities in the attacking third.
“He had a nice first day,” Heaps said. “He's a very technical player. I had seen him play a few years ago and he was very similar to what we expected: good on the ball, great passer, can play up top or wide. We're trying to get his legs underneath him, but in terms of a short, nice practice, he fit in pretty well.”
Nguyen's arrival – plus the recently announced acquisitions of Blake Brettschnider, Alec Purdie and Mike Roach and the prospect of a couple of additional signings in the next couple of weeks – prompted the Revs to waive Ryan Kinne and Zack Schilawski on Monday.
Although the battle for roster spots likely played some role in the pair of departures, Revolution general manager Michael Burns said the duo's limited prospects for first-team action ultimately hastened their exit.
“When Jay and I made the decision on Ryan and Zack, it was not about any one other player that we may have envisioned instead of them,” Burns said. “It was when we looked at the roster, did we see Zack Schilawski or Ryan Kinne getting significant – or any – minutes with the first team this year.
“We really thought about and we came to the conclusion that [they would not]. We felt the best decision for us and for them was to let them go and try to let them catch on with another club.”