The New England Revolution announced Friday that the team has come to terms with defenders Joe Franchino and Marshall Leonard, midfielder Steve Ralston and goalkeeper Matt Reis on their contracts with Major League Soccer. Franchino, Ralston and Reis had reached the end of their contracts and were free agents before signing new deals; Leonard extended his current deal with the Revolution and MLS.
The Revolution also announced that goalkeeper Adin Brown has left the Revolution and has signed a contract with Norwegian Premier League club Aalesund FK. Per team and league policies, the terms of Brown's transfer are not disclosed, as is the case with the player contracts.
"The Revolution are pleased to be able to retain the services of Joe, Steve and Matt after they had become free agents," said Revolution technical director Joe Cummings. "Steve and Joe have both provided invaluable service wearing the Revolution captain's armband and are exceptional players. Matt proved once and for all last year that he is an elite-level goalkeeper in this league. Marshall's progression from a Developmental player to a top left back in MLS is also a great story."
Ralston, the all-time minutes played and games played leader in MLS, took over the captain's armband from Franchino after the latter missed the final portion of the season due to injury. Ralston performed at the right-sided and left-sided midfield positions, right fullback and central midfield for the Revs in 2004, scoring seven goals to go with eight assists. The U.S. international scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on the last day of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth for New England.
Reis had a breakout season in 2004 in his seventh year in MLS. The goalkeeper from Mission Viejo, Calif., appeared in a career-high 24 games, posting a 1.36 goals against average and a 7-10-7 regular season record with 3 shutouts. Reis started all three of the Revs' post-season matches, going 1-1-1 and averaging 1.33 goals against. Reis saved two penalty kicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between New England and the Columbus Crew and he also saved two penalties - and converted one from the spot himself - in the penalty shootout in the Eastern Conference Championship game at D.C. United.
Franchino has played in 91 regular season games (3G, 9A) for the Revolution since being selected by New England from the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Special Draft of 2000. Franchino has also made 10 post-season appearances (1A) for the Revs. He served as club captain for the 2003 and 2004 seasons and has performed as a left-sided and central midfielder in addition to his regular duties as a left back. He missed the end of the 2004 season with a partially avulsed gluteus medius in his right hip. He had surgery on his hip and his left knee (arthroscopic chondroplasty) at Massachusetts General Hospital in October and is progressing towards a full recovery for the start of the season.
The 2005 season will be Leonard's fourth with the Revolution. After joining the team as a Developmental player in 2002 and seeing no game action, Leonard played in 10 games in 2003, starting five. In 2004, he emerged as a reliable presence on the left side of the New England back line, appearing in 25 regular season games and starting 22. Leonard started all six off the Revs' playoff matches in 2003 and 2004 and was recently named the third best left-sided defender in MLS by Soccer America magazine.
Brown leaves the Revolution having posted a 21-15-11 record (1.45 GAA) in 48 matches over parts of three seasons with the team. He was 4-3-3 (0.66 GAA) in the playoffs for New England. He backstopped the Revs to MLS Cup 2002 at Gillette Stadium with his standout play in goal down the stretch of the regular season and through the playoffs. Brown appeared in just seven matches for the Revolution in 2004 because of a groin injury and symptoms related to post-concussion syndrome.
"Adin is a great pro who has given terrific service to the Revolution," said Cummings. "Everyone at the club has full confidence that he will find more success as he pursues his goal of playing professional soccer in Europe."
"Obviously I'm sad to leave the Revolution, but it's time to look at other opportunities and see if I can make it over in Europe and follow my dream," said Brown. "It's been a great time in New England. I went over and thanked the Krafts and I had a good conversation with (head coach) Steve Nicol and (president) Sunil Gulati. I have nothing but good memories from being here."