New England Revolution break ground on Foxborough training facility

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Two days removed from missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year, the New England Revolution swept in a new era, breaking ground on a first team and academy training facility on the broader Gillette Stadium property.

Situated in the woods and adjacent to several wetlands, the Revs’ 30,000 foot-plus complex will cost $35 million and feature four fields – including a grass pitch the first team already utilizes. During the photo presentation, investor/operator Jonathan Kraft spoke to Monday’s broader significance for one of Major League Soccer’s original clubs.

“This is a big milestone in the history of the Revolution,” Jonathan Kraft said. “ … We’re going to have a place where our core roster is going to able to develop to their full potential.”

General manager Michael Burns told MLSsoccer.com the goal is to have the building’s shell built before the season’s first snow to allow internal construction throughout the winter. If all goes to plan, players, front office members and the coaching staff would start using the offices, locker room and other facilities by July or August of 2019.

The facility, built into the natural topography, will open out to two grass fields, which Burns hopes the first team can use by May. Construction for the turf field is expected to begin in 2019, though there isn’t yet an official timeline.

A map of New England's new training facility, tentatively set to open next summer | Courtesy of the New England Revolution

“This represents a really big moment for us and the club,” club president Brian Bilello said. “It’s a major investment in not only what we’re doing in 2019, but also [the future].”

Bilello said construction of the facility would not impact the Revs’ continued stadium search in the Greater Boston area, and that the club remains committed to their quest for a soccer-specific stadium.

Meanwhile, investor/operator Robert Kraft seconded that.

A rendering of the exterior of New England's new training facility | Courtesy of the New England Revolution

“We hope this is the first of two great groundbreakings,” Robert Kraft said.

In a big picture, Monday is the latest in a series of transformational events for the Revs in the last 12 months.

Nearly a year ago, they named Brad Friedel the seventh coach in club history; they announced former goalkeeper coach Remi Roy as their first director of scouting and player personnel last January; then they went on to sign high-impact internationals like center back Michael Mancienne, midfielder Luis Caicedo and winger Cristian Penilla.

Even more iterations could be coming, with Friedel saying after Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Orlando City SC there will be “a lot of exciting changes” in the offseason.

A rendering of the fields at New England's new training facility | Courtesy of the New England Revolution

There’s also the broader MLS context, as Atlanta UnitedReal Salt LakeLAFC, New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City all opening new training facilities since the start of last season.

Burns said the Revs’ new building will rival those around the league – both for the first team and academy.

“It’s as proud a moment that I’ve been here, both as player and front office,” Burns said. “To think where we started in (1996) with training at local colleges to … one of the best training centers in all of MLS, it’s pretty phenomenal. It’s such an important day for our club, not just for the first team but also the academy.”