On Saturday, the midfielder reached arguably his biggest milestone yet, becoming the first Homegrown field player to play 10,000 regular-season minutes. Fagundez, now in his seventh season, eclipsed that mark in the Revs’ 2-0 home win over the Houston Dynamo.
A veteran of 157 MLS games at just 22 years old, Fagundez joins D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid as the only other Homegrown Player to accomplish such a feat.
“That’s pretty ridiculous just hearing that,” said Revs striker Juan Agudelo. “Diego’s a guy that’s been around for so long. He’s matured, he’s like a veteran but a very, very young veteran. I’m very happy for him. He works hard. He hustles on both sides of the ball, so he deserves it.”
Fagundez, a native of Uruguay who grew up in Leominster, Mass., has already several milestones, long before people his age typically graduate college.
He’s the second-youngest player to make 100 MLS starts, scored 13 goals in just his third professional season and has been named to MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 list four times. His 34 goals and 26 assists stand out, too, but Jay Heaps, his head coach, said the biggest testament lies elsewhere.
“What I love about Diego is, for me, how much he’s grown over the last three or four years,” Heaps said. “I think he came into the league, was amazing, scored goals, but then after a lot of goals we reset on how impactful in the game he was. He wasn’t getting enough touches, and we really sat down with him.
“Now, you see he’s able to go 1 vs. 1, he’s keeping the ball more,” Heaps added. “For us, probably through the first five games he’s been one of our best players in each game. That’s, for me, the most consistent he’s been through a five-game stretch.”
Fagundez, who’s joined by midfielders Scott Caldwell and Zach Herivaux in New England's Homegrown corps, didn’t make much of the 10,000-minute mark. Rather, he pointed to how he’s grown as a player -- that is, outside of physically maturing and becoming an adult.
“I think I’ve been a better player off the ball, going both ways defensive and attacking,” he said. “I just have to keep working harder, and when I get my chances either way, make sure I do my job and keep working at it.”
Looking ahead, Fagundez may soon be joined by Caldwell as the next Homegrown field player to reach 10,000 minutes in regular-season play. The 25-year-old Caldwell, a product of the Revs' academy system, has played 9,592 minutes across four-plus seasons.
For now, though, the moment belongs to Fagundez.
“It’s a lot of minutes, but there’s a lot more minutes where that came from,” he said. “I just have to keep doing my job, keep doing what I’ve been doing. When I get my chances I need to show the team that I’m putting in the hard work and that we deserve what we have.”