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Revolution Player Profile: Jay Heaps
Foxboro, MA. - New England Revolution defender and Massachusetts native Jay Heaps has been a mainstay in the Revolution's back line since coming over in a trade midway through the 2001 season. The Longmeadow, Massachusetts native has proved a versatile player for the Revs, seeing time at right back, center defense and in the midfield.

Jay Heaps played both soccer and basketball at Duke, despite being only 5'-9"?. Heaps was a First All ACC selection all four years of his college career. In 1998 he was voted the Missouri Athletic Club Award winner as top collegiate player in the nation. During his time there he was also a three-time Hermann Trophy finalist. Heaps was mostly a player off the bench for the basketball team, but playing under legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski was a good experience."I think it was a wonderful experience for me because it gave me a chance to be on both sides of the spectrum,"? said Heaps. "I played every minute of the Duke soccer and I had to sit on the bench of the Duke basketball. But at the same time I was learning both roles, I was also learning what great coach Coach K is. I think that what he was able to teach me was that there are so many ups and downs in sports, but if you continue to come out everyday and work your hardest, you can maintain a higher drive. I think that's something he taught me and I've continued on through my professional career."? Heaps weighed his options and decided to pursue a career in soccer. "The chance for my to go into basketball would not have been in the NBA, it would've been overseas somewhere,"? Heaps explained. "I thought that MLS was taking off and I wanted to stay in the United States and be a part of something that I think is going to be very special in years to come."

Heaps entered the MLS College Draft hoping to somehow get taken by the Revs. The Miami Fusion took him before the Revs got a chance, using the second overall pick of the draft on him. "I think it was a great experience for me to play in Miami," Heaps said. "It was a huge cultural difference. There were different languages, so I was able to learn a little Portuguese because my coach was Brazilian at the time. It was a fusion of different people come together. We had Cubans on the team, we had Brazilian, we had Ecuadorians and we had a bunch of mostly every South American country on the team. I thought it was something that they taught the game to me as a young player because I had only been influenced by American players and they were able to influence me in another area."? During his first year in Miami Heaps earned a starting spot on the team and Rookie of the Year honors. He scored in his professional debut and added another two goals and an assist before the year was over. The next year Heaps would tally a career-best 5 goals and 6 assists on his way to becoming an All-Star. However, the next season Heaps seemed to fall out of favor in Miami, playing nearly every game before being traded, but mostly as a substitute. While with Miami, the team failed to be very successful both on and off the field and the Fusion folded before the 2002 season. "I've been to championships at every level," Heaps said. "High School, College, Club level, professional and a championship is something I want to get. Individual awards are great. You can't get individual awards without your team, so your team essentially wins the award, but I think the best award that you win is a championship and I think that's why I get up every morning and come here and practice."

Midway through the 2001 season Heaps was traded to New England for Brian Dunseth and started 13 of the 15 games he played that season for the Revs, ending the year with 4 assists, 3 coming while with the Revs. "It was a surreal moment,"? Heaps recalls of the time he was traded. "I thought at the last minute I was going to Colorado. There were some talks that Colorado was making a move for me and that it was back and forth. I found out actually in Charlotte, North Carolina, where we were playing against Navy team. I was really pushing for the trade to be traded to New England, but I wasn't sure if it was going to happen and when it finally did it was bittersweet because first your whole world changes, but at the same time I knew I was coming home and was going to be around my family. I think the fans here are great."? Heaps became a regular starter for the Revs the next two seasons, tallying two goals and six assists in 2002 (he added another goal in the play-offs) and three goals and one assist in 2003. Heaps started all but four games last season and tallied the first goal of the season for the Revs. He added two assists later in the season. Heaps fell out of favor with head coach Steve Nicol towards the end of the season, but took it in stride and managed to earn back his starting spot before the playoffs began. Due to injuries he played center back for the first time in his career in 2004.

Jay Heaps got married on New Year's Eve 2003 and that has changed his free time and offseason significantly. "I have a chocolate lab," Heaps said. "Her name is Bella, she takes up most of my spare time because she wants to play ball all day long and I got married in the offseason, so my offseason has changed dramatically in the last year. Mostly right now, we bought a new house, here in the area, so I've been doing a lot of house work these last couple of months."

The Revolution need Heaps to have a strong 2005 season, if they are going to make the playoffs and win MLS Cup.
January 12, 2005 Sean Donahue


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