Shrewd Revs land goalkeeper

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The New England Revolution might have found an understudy for standout goalkeeper Matt Reis and didn't even cost them a draft pick.

The Revs signed UMass goalkeeper Zach Simmons on Friday, landing one of the most highly-regarded college goalkeepers in the nation last season.

So how did New England swing that one? The word on Simmons before the MLS Draft was that he was planning to stay in school and wasn't likely to pursue a professional career. The 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America of the Year bypassed the MLS Combine and went undrafted, which allowed the 6-foot-3 shot stopper to fall to New England.

The Revs signed Simmons, 23, to a developmental contract and elevated back-up goalkeeper Brad Knighton to a senior roster spot. New England also announced that it had moved defender Chris Tierney from the developmental roster to its senior roster.

What do you think of this news? Think Simmons could develop into the Revs starter one day? Do you believe in the conspiracy theory that Simmons bypassed the Combine and draft with the intention of joining the Revs? Who do you see ending up the bigger impact player when it's all said and done, Simmons or Mike Videira?

Share your thoughts below.

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21 Responses to Shrewd Revs land goalkeeper

  1. nick says:

    1st… wow i am first… anyway .. a lot of clubs are considering doing just that but i can really say that i know the guy

  2. northzax says:

    i’m thinking you meant “shrewd” Ives? Stevie Nichol is a lot of things, but I don’t think even I would call him a shrew…

    interesting, but why not give the pros a shot? I wonder if he would have signed with anyone but the revs? being a grad student and an MLS developmental player are about the same thing, right? although my grant was bigger…

  3. Seriously? says:

    As a Revs supporter, I’ll admit it does seem a bit odd that the Revs would add him so soon after the draft, but I have 2 questions.

    1) Who’s to say that it wasn’t actually Simmons being shrewd. Perhaps he does want to continue his education, and do so it at UMass, and he thought that bypassing the draft would give him the chance to negotiate with the only team he’d be able to play for and stay at UMass.

    2) How much interest was there in him? The first keeper taken Stefan Frei, who’d been annointed the best thing since sliced bread, soon to be an MLS starter, dropped much lower than expected. Do we know that Simmons would have been drafted?

  4. Travis in Miami says:

    that seems like a huge gaping loophole way out of possibly being drafted by a team you don’t want to play for.

  5. Connor B says:

    Nick…I go to UMass and am obviously there now…you?

  6. T. Tupa says:

    Can be hard for a back-up GK to make any serious impact in MLS — Simmons can ask the much-hyped Chris Seitz about that. Better chance for Videira to play this year.

    Revs main issue is the aging, injuries, and departure of their core players: Reis, Parkhurst, Joseph, Ralston, Twellman. They are still hurting for a Parkhurst replacement, they must hope that concussions and other injuries don’t bother Twellman too much, and they have to pray that Rally returns to the form he had at the first half of last year when he was an MVP candidate.

  7. Ives says:

    Northzax, you made me laugh pretty hard. And yes, I meant Shrewd.

    And Seriously, I’m sure Simmons did his part but I’m also sure the Revs had this scenario in mind. Not criticizing, it was a great move.

    And I can tell you that based on the goalkeepers that were drafted I have no doubt that if Simmons had attended the Combine and told folks he was playing he would have been drafted.

  8. Ives says:

    Tupa, nobody was saying Simmons was going to do anything anytime soon.

    As for seitz, he’s still very young. Need I remind you of a goalkeeper who was serving as a backup in MLS about 10 years ago. He spent about three years as a back-up. Who was that? Tim Howard.

  9. Willardo DuPont says:

    Sometimes I think they should just scrap the draft

  10. Matt M. says:

    I doubt there was any collusion. Simmons was rated a good prospect but hardly Marcus Tracy calibur which ensured he was drafted even though he’d already SIGNED elsewhere.

    With keepers, who knows where they will be drafted. At about one drafted per round, he might have been a second rounder or fourth.

    This was a lucky break for the revs but remember even most keepers that are drafted don’t always make the grade. We’ll see in a few years.

  11. butt says:

    Um can someone please explain in detail how this just happened? If teams can do something like this why can we just sign our academy players without regards to what MLS says? The academy players aren’t under contract with MLS so they should just be treated as free agents.

  12. Tom says:

    If the guy’s so hot, why is he on a developmental contract? How good could he be if he’s only getting 25K a year? What, Dunkin Donuts not hiring?

    This lad makes you wonder what academic all american means.

  13. Mario in SJ says:

    This makes allot of sense.

    If you have to live on $17K per year you should stay in the area where you have a support system in place.

    I hope this becomes more common in the future. Good for Simmons and the Revs.

  14. SombraAla says:

    Conspiracy theory or no, if it hasn’t happened yet it _will_ where players will bypass the draft to go to the team that they want. Which is fine, but only if it is consistant… which begs to question why Chicago should have to deal with Toronto to get McBride when he was coming back. It’s only ok to do this with college kids?

    The whole system is messed up anyways, but not like I have a better idea anyways.

  15. Eric K says:

    (Steve Nicol + Paul Mariner)(Mike Burns) > you

  16. Maggie says:

    The kid is the real deal. As Ives mentioned… he didn’t go to the combine to announce his interest in playing in the MLS. I’m sure all the teams were scared he’d decline the offer to take a full ride at an Ivy League school. He didn’t have an agent which is another reason teams didn’t think he was interested in playing further.

    He was ranked #2 GK overall yet there were 6-7 drafted… it makes no sense. He was also offered d-league contracts from 4 other teams.

    He’ll be an impact player if not this season then definitely by next. He’s a specimen. Many current MLS players rave about him in their blogs. It’s good to see great things happen to great people. Congratulations to the Revs and Simmons.

    P.S. – the local fans that will go to just see him will pay his salary anyhow. How can the Revs complain?

  17. Seriously? says:

    SombraAla, I’d say the McBride situation is completely different. McBride was an established national team star, who’d played in the league previously, so by league rules, someone owned his rights. Simmons on the other hand had never played in the league. I would assume that a team could have drafted him in a later round, had they thought highly enough of him, as we often see happen for top prospects who say they’re going abroad.

    In that respect, this seems like quite a loop hole, and when it happens it looks pretty shady (even if it helps my team), but in practice, I seems more likely to happen only for middling prospects who would have been taken in later rounds had he come out. As I said, when there’s a top player coming up who says he’s going abroad, teams will still draft them, just in case Europe doesn’t work out.

    Simmons may be choc full of good ol’ “upside”, but would he have made anyone’s roster as a backup for the upcoming season? (btw, I don’t mean to sound like I’m denigrating him, I don’t know if he would or wouldn’t have, but I assume we would have heard more about him had he been seen as a can’t miss prospect. Anyone remember the big rep Scott Coufal came in with?)

  18. Maggie says:

    Seriously?,

    The kid was the #2 ranked GK. Google his name. The kid has won more awards than anyone else in college soccer. The teams must have clearly thought he was going forward with school, otherwise he would have been a first or second rounder. Please do your research on the players before you begin talking bad about them.

  19. dibs says:

    I know Simmons, so here are some FACTS for y’all:

    1) He was not INVITED to the combine, so he couldn’t pass it up.
    2) An MLS coach told the UMASS coach that rumor had it Simmons wanted to go to Europe.
    3)NO ONE EVER ASKED SIMMONS ANYTHING.
    4)The Revs filed discovery on him, and when another team made an offer they got first chance to match it.
    5) He accepted a team that (a) he had worked with last summer (b) invited him to a try-out (c) offered him a contract.

    Those are the facts.

  20. Seriously? says:

    Maggie, read what I said. Where was I “talking bad” about him? Asking questions is not talking badly about someone. I even put in a note for people like you, saying that my asking such questions wasn’t meant to denigrate him, and that I didn’t actually know how MLS teams viewed him. Are you telling me that you knew for a FACT that he would have been taken in the draft, or that you know for a FACT that there are teams in the league who would like him as at least their number 2 keeper?Someone else stated that he/she knew for a fact that he wasn’t even invited to the combine, which I’d heard elsewhere, which might lead one to believe he wasn’t as highly thought of by MLS coaches as you think of him.

    I am slightly familiar with him, having watched UMass on tv in the tournament last season. I liked what I saw, and I’m glad the Revs got him, and as a local kid who went to a local school, I’d want him to do well no matter where he went, but I would like to hear an objective opinion on him, and would rather hear about his prospects from someone who has inside sources.

  21. Dave says:

    scouting report on simmonds —good in air, very vulnerable down low…questionable decision making under pressure is why he did not get drafted or invited to the combine… a project, needs experience and has potential..good work ethic…never said he did not want to get drafted..ives, carrick made that up to cover for their high ratings of this keep..sorry just the facts…