FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When Chris Tierney first walked into the New England Revolution locker room as a rookie in 2008, the former University of Virginia standout impressed then-defender Jay Heaps with his maturity.
Now Heaps is Tierney's coach at the Revs, and he's enjoyed a front-row seat as the latter has grown from a rookie, into a reliable veteran, and now, into an MLS All-Star. Not only is it his first time on the All-Star team, but he's the first player from the Revs to be selected since Michael Parkhurst in 2008.
“It’s a testament to Chris and the kind of player he is,” said Heaps. “There wasn’t a day that I didn’t see him work extra, trying to get better, learning from a great group of locker room guys back then. He’s carried that over to his career now. He came as kind of a left midfielder, and he worked really hard to become the left back that he is now.”
Tierney was recently named to Pablo Mastroeni’s 22-player roster for Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star Game in Commerce City, Colo. (9 pm ET; Fox Sports 1, UniMás, TSN, RDS). It's his first such honor in his eight-year career, and something that he says took him aback.
A consummate professional, he called his father to tell him the news first before jumping back into the fray with his New England Revolution in preparation for Saturday’s road match against the Chicago Fire.
“Surprised, but it’s a great honor,” said Tierney. “It always feels good to be appreciated by other people in the game. It’s an exciting opportunity for me, but I’m focused on the game this weekend right now, and then I’ll start thinking about it after that.”
He did, however, take a little time to ponder the All-Star team's opponent, Barclay’s Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, and the league’s involvement in such an event, before he got back to the business of preparing for the Fire.
“It’s always fun to be able to test yourself against some of the best players in the world and people at the top of your profession,” said Tierney. “It’ll be a cool opportunity to see those players up close, and like I said, I’m going to start thinking about that on Sunday after we get through this weekend.
“ think the MLS players will show well. I think there’s a lot of top quality stars that have now come over to this league.”
Despite being one of the longest tenured MLS players on the All-Star roster, at age 29 Tierney is far from being one of the older players in the group.
He’ll get to play alongside some of the league’s veteran stars like David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and Stephen Gerrard, who have recently come into the league. And, of course, he’ll look to send in his trademark pinpoint crosses to well-known MLS star forwards Kei Kamara and Robbie Keane.
It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for a guy who grew up rooting for the club he now represents, and he plans to make the most of it.
“I always talk about how much I like and how proud I am to be a Revolution player,” said Tierney. “It’s a great honor. And any chance I have to represent this club well, I take it.”