MLS: Caldwell Geared To Play However New England Asks

Written by Ian Thomson
New England’s homegrown signing Scott Caldwell appearing for Akron during last November’s Mid-American Conference tournament (Photo: Ian Thomson)

INDIANAPOLIS – Domestic influences heavily suggested that New England Revolution rookie Scott Caldwell would become a soccer player.

The 21-year-old from Braintree, Mass. became the second Caldwell family member to join a Major League Soccer team last December when he signed a homegrown contract with the Revs. Elder brother Keith had previously been selected by Colorado Rapids in the 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft. Caldwell steps up to the professional level after an illustrious youth and college career that saw him representing the United States at U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-18 levels and becoming a national NCAA champion with Akron in 2010 after his goal earned the Zips a 1-0 win over Louisville.

Caldwell’s experiences playing for the Zips under Caleb Porter combined with summer stints in the USL Premier Development League and training with New England have all contributed toward his emergence as the franchise’s second homegrown signing, following Diego Fagundez in 2010. The variation has also given Caldwell an adaptability that should help him fit into head coach Jay Heaps’ plans.

“Wherever he wants me to play on the field, I’ll just do whatever I can to help the team,” said Caldwell during last week’s MLS SuperDraft.

The midfield playmaker emerged as a constant goalscoring and creative threat in his senior year at Akron with a career-high nine goals and a team-leading 10 assists.

“In different years, different guys step up,” Caldwell said. “There’s so many great players that come through Akron. Everybody is working together. It’s just the goals fall for different people.”

Caldwell became the fulcrum in Porter’s side during his senior season. His technical skill and passing ability made him a natural conduit through which Akron recycled the ball from one flank to the other while probing for gaps. A summer spell with Michigan Bucks in 2012 heralded a completely different approach.

Owner Dan Duggan’s Pontiac-based Bucks eliminated the United Soccer Leagues’ Pittsburgh Riverhounds and MLS side Chicago Fire from last year’s U.S. Open Cup tournament on its way to the round of 16. Head coach Gary Parsons opted for a cruder style of aerial bombardment supplemented by flashes of midfield finesse.

“Gary and Dan helped through the summertime by giving me a place to get games and stay sharp,” Caldwell said. “Every team has a different style of play to win the game, so whatever the coach wants that’s how the players have to adapt.

“Whatever their styles and philosophies, that’s the way you’ve got to play.”

Caldwell’s father, Larry, briefly played alongside Poland’s Euro 2012 head coach Franciszek Smuda at Hartford Bicentennials during the 1975 North American Soccer League season. Brother Keith won two Ivy League championships at Brown University, and elder sisters Andrea and Amy played at Simmons College and Boston College respectively with the latter representing the United States at U-16 level.

Caldwell’s father, Larry (back row, second from right), appearing for the American Soccer League’ Rhode Island Oceaneers in 1974 (Photo: P.J. Chvany)

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