FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – While other MLS teams spent their Fourth of July toiling away in stadiums around the country, the New England Revolution spent much of the day tying up a deal for striker Jerry Bengtson.
The Honduran international met with Revolution general manager Michael Burns and coach Jay Heaps on Wedneday to discuss the potential move and put the final touches on a transfer that will see the prolific striker become the third Designated Player in club history.
The discussions allowed both sides to confirm they shared the same objectives before the Revs and MLS completed the signing of the 25-year-old from Honduran side CD Motagua.
“One of the things Jay Heaps said was that he was very happy to have me here,” Bengtson told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “My response was the same. I'm very happy to be here. We talked about how I am willing to work hard and put in the effort to help the coach, help the team and make myself a better player.”
Those fundamental principles should serve Bengtson well as he settles into a new country and a new team. Heaps said Bengtson's goalscoring record – including three campaigns as the top scorer in the Liga Nacional for his former side – placed him on the radar for several European and MLS sides and his physical and philosophical qualities ultimately paved the way for his move to the Revolution.
“He scores goals, first and foremost,” Heaps said. “You want someone who works hard and who buys into what you are doing. It's never easy and nothing's ever a sure thing, but you want to get players who are buying into what you're doing and who bring something special. He's got great size, great speed and a knack around the goal.”
Bengtson backed up his professed commitment to help his new club by taking the training field with his new teammates on Thursday morning. He said he hopes to feature as soon as Sunday's match with New York (7 pm ET; Galavision), but he must still obtain his P-1 work visa and the league must receive his international transfer certificate before he can take the field.
Even if he does not play this weekend, Bengtson said he hopes to use these next two weeks to settle in with the Revs before he joins his country's squad for the Olympics in London as one of three overage selections. Bengtson is currently slated to depart for the United Kingdom after the Revolution's trip to Montreal on July 18.
“It was very important [to complete the move now before the Olympics],” Bengtson said through a translator. “I'm getting into a new team and, hopefully, I'll be starting to play on Sunday. Fitness-wise, it will help me to go the Olympics with my national team.”