Reeling Revs searching for new era now after firing Jay Heaps

September 19, 2017

As he closed out an era spanning the better part of two decades, Jay Heaps reflected on his tenure with Revolution in the best way he knew how.

Heaps released a statement a few hours after the Revolution confirmed his dismissal as coach after six seasons Tuesday morning and thanked just about everyone.

He called Revolution investor/operators Robert and Jonathan Kraft “the best owners in sports,” highlighted the behind-the-scenes employees, praised the players he oversaw since he took charge in November 2011 and thanked the fans for their backing over the years.

With the Revs almost certain to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season, those sentiments reinforce the personal fallout from the professional decision to dismiss Heaps.

“From a commitment and a passion standpoint, you couldn’t ask for anything more,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns told the Herald Tuesday afternoon. “He gave his heart and soul to the club.”

Heaps’ dedication led to a MLS Cup berth in 2014, a place in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final in 2016 and the progression of several players during his time in charge, but it did not prove enough to halt the downward trend over the past couple of seasons.

Everything rose to a head as the postseason hopes slipped away. The inability to produce results away from home (0-12-3, worst in MLS) or sort out the lingering defensive problems (51 goals conceded in 29 games) ultimately undermined any chance at a possible revival or another season in charge.

Revolution executives took the decision on Monday to end Heaps’ tenure (75-81-43) with five matches remaining in the campaign and confirmed his immediate departure Tuesday morning.

Burns cited the results this season and the trajectory of the team as a whole as the primary reasons behind the decision.

“It was a combination and a culmination of everything over the past 12-24 months,” Burns said.

The move places the Revs in the coaching market for the first time since 2011. Their last search led them to a club stalwart who learned on the job, but this search is perhaps more complex with some influential players already in place, some philosophical and structural quandaries to address and a winding road ahead to steer the club back to the postseason in an increasingly competitive league.

Those realities loom in the weeks ahead as the Revs try to locate their next coach, but the more immediate repercussions reverberated instantly as interim boss Tom Soehn took charge Tuesday morning.

“It’s a really difficult time to be a part of this club,” Revolution defender Chris Tierney told reporters after he thanked his former coach and teammate. “Jay gave everything he had. He’s been a big part of this team for a long time. It’s really a tough one for us to swallow, but that’s pro sports. We’ve got to try to move on and do the best we can for the remaining games here.”.