FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England defender José Gonçalves started his search for a new club when realized he would not find his way into the starting XI at FC Sion.
The past year and a half served as an exercise in frustration for a player accustomed to regular match action. Gonçalves featured in just five matches during the 2011-12 campaign after sealing a summer switch from St. Gallen.
The ex-Hearts defender fell further out of favor under new boss Victor Muñoz this season and played once in the Swiss Super League before joining the Revolution on loan last month.
“As a football player, you always want to play,” Gonçalves told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “There are [only] 11 players on the pitch, you know? For me, this last year has not been so great. I didn't play a lot. I'm looking forward to playing more this year.”
Gonçalves performed his due diligence before he decided to move to MLS. He linked up with the Revs for a brief trial spell last fall to assess whether a loan deal made sense for him. The evidence gathered during his brief time in New England encouraged him to swap Switzerland for America and try to stake his claim for a place in the side.
The former Portugal under-21 international's path to a place in the team isn't without obstacles. Several players – including Darrius Barnes, Andrew Farrell, Stephen McCarthy and A.J. Soares – will vie for time in central defense. Gonçalves said he plans to do his part to ensure he emerges from the pack over the next few weeks and secures a place in the lineup.
“We are starting preseason,” Gonçalves said. “I think with the squad we have, we have a lot of good players. We must show in training every day that we want to play. After, it's then the choice of the manager.”