Revs No. 1 pick Andrew Farrell ready to start career

Revs No. 1 pick Andrew Farrell ready to start career
March 5, 2013, 6:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- The New England Revolution didn't have to tell anyone about their aggressiveness during Tuesday's "Media Day" at Gillette Stadium.

Their trade up to the No. 1 overall spot in this year's draft was proof enough.

Still, the theme to Tuesday's media gathering was clear. The Revs were aggressive to add depth in the offseason. And they're excited to display that depth in Saturday night's season-opener in Chicago.

"My feeling is, it's the deepest team that we've assembled in a long time," said Revolution general manager Mike Burns.

Depth aside, it'd be impossible to avoid what would be the biggest storyline for any team in any sport that entered a season having seen no postseason the year before: The No. 1 overall draft pick.

That would be defender Andrew Farrell.

He's 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, and is New England's first ever No. 1 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

"When the number one pick became available, for us, he was our number one guy, collectively, across the board, for all of us," said Burns on Tuesday. "So when it became real with Toronto, we knew we could move up, and he was the guy we had targeted. It was a relatively easy decision for us."

The Revolution want to create a culture that out-works, out-thinks, out-prepares, and ultimately, out-plays.

They believe the 20-year-old Farrell out of the University of Louisville brings all of that to the table immediately.

"He's an important part of what we've done this offseason," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. "He's shown he's MLS game-ready. He doesn't have experience, but he has a technical ability and a pretty good awareness of himself, and his soccer intelligence is very high. So the two of those things, with his attitude, make a pretty good player."

But before he shows it out on the field, he has to fit into the locker room. And according to the Revs, that wasn't difficult at all.

"He's humble, but he's also very smart with the way he carries himself. He's the number one pick, but how he was accepted in the locker room was unbelievable. From day one, he took it as a responsibility to come in and work as hard as he could. So when you add that technical ability, his athletic ability with the right work rate, you've got a very good player. And we've been very happy with him so far."

Heaps wants his team to include strong midfielders who are "attack-oriented" when the Revs possess the ball. But to do that, you also need a strong back line. And they believe Farrell can only help that cause.

"He's very aware of the game," said Heaps. "He's got a very high soccer IQ. So, when he receives the ball, he's not just receiving the ball. He's already onto the next play as it's coming to him."

"I think he's got a bright future," said veteran Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis. "Athletically, he's great. And he's got a great soccer mind, which helps out a lot. Once he gets a little experience under his belt, he's going to do some good things."

Farrell sat in front of his locker on Tuesday, perhaps taking some pressure of the absent 18-year-old Diego Fagundez (illness) and highly-touted goal-scorer Jerry Bengtson.

As the top pick in the draft, you have to expect to be the top story. But Farrell didn't even expect to be the top pick.

"There were a lot of talented guys who came out in this draft," he said on Tuesday. "I didn't know whether I was going to go first or 10th or 25th. I was excited to come to this organization, and glad for the opportunity. But I had no idea I was going to go first overall. But I'm blessed that they picked me."

He's been well-received among teammates and the organization. Now, he's just ready to adjust to the game and live up to the expectations.

"It plays a lot faster, everybody's athletic and physical, and if you make small mistakes, then they'll make you pay for that," said Farrell. "But I think I've learned a little bit. I've made a couple mistakes here and there, but I'm learning every day, and just learning from the coaching staff and all the veteran guys. I'm just playing my game, and I'm excited for Saturday."