In an ideal world, New England coach Jay Heaps would have Benny Feilhaber in his squad when he opens his first Revolution training camp on January 16.
Reality, however, will require Heaps to adapt to a different set of circumstances.
Feilhaber was called into the US national team’s January camp ahead of a pair of friendlies against Venezuela (Jan. 21 in Glendale, Ariz.) and Panama (Jan. 25 in Panama City). As a result, he will miss the start of the Revolution preseason.
Although Heaps will have to wait a bit longer for his first chance to include Feilhaber in his plans, he told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday that the Revs will ultimately benefit from their midfielder's international recall.
“From a locker-room perspective, Benny had a good year here to get used to most of the guys,” Heaps said by phone. “If we change a lot, he can adapt to that. I'm not overly concerned with that. I'm just excited that he's going to get back to the national team. It's good to have someone on your team who is getting that kind of experience, especially with the US.”
A former US international himself, Heaps believes Feilhaber's domestic performances ultimately laid the groundwork for his first call-up under US coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“Benny, obviously, is used to being there,” Heaps said. “Jurgen – when the regime changed and he came in – wanted to see where Benny was at. It took Benny a little while to get used to the play in MLS, but he certainly picked up pretty quickly. Jurgen obviously saw something in that and wants to get him in with that group of guys.”
Although Heaps said the Revs will miss Feilhaber during his spell with the national side, he also noted that the international opportunity will provide a suitable foundation for the 26-year-old midfielder to build upon in his preseason preparations with the Revolution.
“I know Benny pretty well in terms of how he plays,” Heaps said. “It'll be difficult, but it's the national team. I know that Jurgen's going to get these guys fit and ready. I'm not worried about that.”
WATCH: Feilhaber's acrobatic goal against San Jose