Two pieces of the New England Revolution’s offseason puzzle fell into place on Monday afternoon, when the club announced the signings of 2010 MLS SuperDraft selections Seth Sinovic and Zak Boggs. The duo will occupy the Revolution’s last two remaining developmental roster spots, leaving just one senior roster spot open.
With Sinovic and Boggs on board, the Revs have now signed their top three selections from January’s draft, including No. 9 overall selection Zack Schilawski. Later-round draft picks Jason Griffiths and Adam Welch remained in school to finish their degrees, and both are slated to join the Revs on trial after graduation in the spring.
Sinovic and Boggs have been with the Revolution since the beginning of preseason training in February, and both have featured in all three of the club’s preseason matches. While Boggs has appeared as a substitute on each occasion, Sinovic has earned a pair of starts against a team of college all-stars and USL-2’s Charlotte Eagles.
Sinovic, 23, was selected in the second round (25th overall) out of Creighton University after a stellar five-year college career. An attack-minded left back, he was the Bluejays’ second-leading scorer as a senior in 2009, registering three goals and four assists.
With the news of his signing official, the Leawood, Kan., native admitted that he took a huge sigh of relief.
“It takes a big load off my back,” he said. “I’m just excited to be a part of the team officially now. More than anything, I’m just excited.”
That air of excitement was shared by Boggs, a 23-year-old midfielder who was drafted just six spots after Sinovic, with the 31st overall selection of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. A scholar athlete, Boggs scored 18 goals and registered eight assists during a collegiate career which included stints with West Virginia, Central Florida and South Florida.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’ve been here for a while now and it’s been awesome. I don’t know what else to say, it’s been great.”
While top pick Schilawski signed with the league prior to the SuperDraft – thus relieving some of the pressure – Sinovic and Boggs trained without contracts for seven weeks. Each day, they took the field knowing that they were playing for their professional lives.
That type of daily pressure can affect any player, especially those in their early-20s with a future at stake.
“There were definitely some nerves,” Sinovic admitted. “I can’t lie about that. But at the same time, you’ve just got to go out there, show what you can, and do your best. That’s really all I can ask of myself is to just try as hard as I can, and if things work out then they work out. Obviously, they did.”
Boggs took the situation in stride, viewing the pressure as a necessary evil and using the stress to push his performance to another level.
“It’s all part of it,” he said. “I knew [there would be pressure] going into it. I was confident and I stayed positive, and I think that helped a lot.”
Both players handled the pressure as well as could be expected, and now they’ve been rewarded for their efforts with contracts to play professional soccer for the Revolution. As soon as pen went to paper on the deals, a pair of childhood dreams were fulfilled.
But Sinovic and Boggs are well aware that the job is far from finished. Now that they’ve proven themselves worthy of spots on the roster, they must demonstrate to Head Coach Steve Nicol and the rest of the technical staff that they deserve to be on the field when the games really matter.
Sinovic knows that playing time is never guaranteed, but as a member of the Revolution, he’s dedicated to the cause no matter the situation.
“I’d like to see some playing time more than anything,” Sinovic said when asked about his goals for his rookie season. “But if playing time doesn’t come, then I’ll do what I can off the field to help the team.”
Boggs is similarly eager to find his name on the game day lineup sheet, but like Sinovic, he’s keeping the experience in perspective.
“I want to play,” he said. “But I have to take it one step at a time, day by day, and not get too far ahead of myself. There are going to be highs and lows, and I’ll try to take it all in stride.”
At present, it seems as if both Sinovic and Boggs have made the right impression around camp, especially on Nicol, the man who will be largely responsible for deciding whether or not they see the field.
The ninth-year head coach described Sinovic as an all-around solid player, while he praised Boggs for his courage and determination. But it’s something more which has drawn Nicol to the pair of rookies – something not necessarily visible to the untrained eye.
“Footballers are not always the smartest people in the world,” Nicol joked. “But these two guys are pretty clever, and they take what you say, and you can see they take it in. So, I’m delighted that both of them have signed.”