FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The faces changed. The location shifted. Clyde Simms' output did not.
Simms moved from D.C. United to New England during the second stage of the re-entry process last December. It did not take him long to reaffirm his credentials as a reliable MLS starter at a club crying out for the consistency he supplied during his seven seasons in Washington.
“It took some getting used to being in a different environment, that's for sure,” Simms told MLSsoccer.com before departing for the winter break. “But I have definitely enjoyed my time here so far.”
The veteran midfielder stepped straight into the Revolution starting XI and secured his place with a series of assured displays early in the season. His role isn't particularly flashy. He operates as a tidy holding player in front of the back four and performs his tasks with a minimum of fuss in a team filled with more expressive players.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps adjusted Simms' training regimen to ensure his continued availability despite ankle and calf complaints (he played 29 matches, one short of his career high) and cited his steady presence as one of the key factors in the club's improvement this season.
“That's what Clyde provides,” Heaps said. “He is in the right spot. He helps our backs get forward by covering space behind. It's a thankless job and Clyde does it to perfection.”
Simms did his job well enough to carve out an integral place in the side in his first season with the Revs. He will face a stern challenge for his spot next season with ex-Bristol City and Reading midfielder Kalifa Cissé now in the fold, but those issues won't truly crop up until training camp commences.
For now, the focus remains on his first year with New England and the hope it brings for the future. At the end of a season filled with change, Simms said he hopes to continue in his influential central midfield role as the Revs attempt to mount a playoff push next season.
“You play this game because you want to play and you want to be on the field,” Simms said. “You want what is best for the team and you want to win. Personally, it was a good feeling to be a big part of a team and a team with a lot of talented players. It was definitely fun to start to build something here. I'm very excited that we'll be able to continue to do that.”