Andrew Farrell talks about retiring as a Rev, his legacy, and why he chose 88
Farrell: “If they want me, I would love to stay here and retire as a Rev.”
Heading into the 2023 season, Andrew Farrell had one guaranteed year and a club option left on his contract. He told The Blazing Musket, “There was some interest from a couple of teams. He ultimately decided to sign an extension with the club that he’s called home for the last ten years.
This type of loyalty is a core characteristic for the 30-year-old. While his peers moved from club to club during their youth careers, Farrell didn’t.
“I always stayed with my club teams, whether it was in Peru or back home in Kentucky,” Farrell noted. “Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener if you go somewhere else.”
Farrell has been with the New England Revolution since he was drafted first overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Whether he was playing defensively on the right or in the center, he’s been a stalwart for the Revs, logging a club-record 26,792 minutes.
The club means a lot to Farrell, who said, “If they want me, I would love to stay here and retire as a Rev.”
But the defender is quick to note that it’s hard to predict what will happen in soccer. It’s not very often that a player stays with the same club throughout his/her entire career.
“I have to take it one day at a time,” Farrell said. “You never know what can happen. Sometimes it might be that they're moving on and you can move on to somewhere else. It doesn’t always have to be a bad situation. It can be what’s best for both parties.”
He concluded, “But I would definitely like to retire as a Revs player.”
“I want to win a trophy here and hopefully we can achieve that this year.” -Andrew Farrell
Farrell’s new deal includes another club option, which could put him in New England through 2025. He was re-signed using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), which means he’ll receive a pay increase from the $443,750 guaranteed salary he earned in 2022.
New signings Dave Romney and Latif Blessing also inked new deals that include pay bumps tied to TAM. Using TAM on domestic players is a different strategy than what we’ve seen in the past, as the mechanism was once largely used to attract internationals.
“It feels great to be rewarded,” Farrell said. “I like the way that the Revs are doing it. I’m a known commodity. I might not be the best center back in the league, but I’m someone that’s reliable, that they can count on, that’s been here and doing this for ten years.”
Farrell stated “it was pretty easy” to have conversations about a new contract with Bruce Arena and the rest of the front office. With that work complete, Farrell has turned all of his focus to winning some hardware.
“I want to win a trophy here and hopefully we can achieve that this year,” Farrell said.
Farrell is doing everything he can to capture the elusive MLS Cup, including changing his number from 2 to 88. On the first day of preseason, he explained, “I thought to switch it up might bring us some good juju for this year and we can win a lot of trophies.”
While this may be true, the number also has a special meaning to the veteran.
“I have a close lady friend and that’s a number switch and she’s like, ‘Okay, switch it up.’ That’s the real reason why,” Farrell explained. “The number means something to both of us.”
The last two years were a rollercoaster for the New England Revolution.
In 2021, the club won the Supporters’ Shield by setting a new single-season MLS points record (73). After a 23-day break between the season finale and their first playoff game, the Revs were eliminated from the post-season by eventual champions New York City FC.
One year later, they failed to make the playoffs in a season that saw the departures of Tajon Buchanan, Matt Turner, and Adam Buksa.
“I think we were obviously all pretty pissed, from the front office to the players to the fans to everyone that coaches the team,” Farrell said of the 2022 season. “I think it was just disappointing given the amount of talent we have and based on the year we had before.”
“Whenever you have Carles on your team, I think you always have a chance to win a trophy.” - Andrew Farrell
The core players on the team are ready to make 2023 a success. Most of the projected starting lineup has played significant MLS minutes. The team also has a number of game-changers, including Djordje Petrovic, who is “one of, if not the best, goalkeepers in the league,” according to Farrell.
Most importantly, 2021 MLS MVP Carles Gil will be back in the midfield.
“Whenever you have Carles on your team, I think you always have a chance to win a trophy,” Farrell commented.
Farrell is also optimistic about the new year because the team has looked fit and healthy during the early stages of preseason. Last season, the club struggled to keep everyone on the field, including newcomers Dylan Borrero (602 minutes) and Giacomo Vrioni (248 minutes).
Signed Apr. 2022, 20-year-old Dylan Borrero showed that he can be a spark on the wing. He will certainly look to contribute more this upcoming season than the three goals and two assists he had in 2022.
Mid-season acquisition Giacomo Vrioni was slated to be a goal-scoring No. 9 like he was when he led the Austrian league in goals during the 2021-22 season. To date, he’s only scored one goal with the Revs, a PK.
“[Dylan Borrero] is healthy and is looking really, really good, really sharp,” Farrell said. “Giacomo being fully healthy and hungry to prove, I guess, the haters and doubters wrong. It takes time sometimes for players acquired to come and get used to living in a new country.”
Prompted by Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore, the team is looking for more opportunities to hang out together away from the field. One event mentioned was a team dinner.
The veterans have already started to make the newcomers feel a part of the team. Farrell noted that draft pick Andreas Ueland from Norway has earned the nickname “Iceman.” The players posted pictures around the locker room asking if Ueland looks more like Iceman from Top Gun or Drago from Rocky.
“I think those are the little things that we can do to bond a little better,” Farrell said.
Given that he leads the New England Revolution in season minutes (26,792), appearances (304), and starts (301), it’s not unreasonable to think that Andrew Farrell’s name will one day be included among club greats like Taylor Twellman, Shalrie Joseph, and Steve Ralston.
“I hope one day it’s possible,” Farrell said.
But he’s not overly focused on having his picture pasted around the Revolution Training Center. Instead, he’s hoping his legacy will live on through the players he’s influenced.
Any newcomer is likely to mention that Farrell is one of the best personalities on the team. If you watch any Revs game, you’ll notice that Farrell, a defender, is one of the first to arrive when a teammate scores a goal. For years, he was the first up when the media needed a voice.
In sum, Farrell is selfless and is always looking to do what he can to help the Revolution.
“I just go in every day and try to pass on my wisdom and experience that I’ve had and the little things I’ve done.” - Andrew Farrell
Consider this, Farrell stepped up to become the locker room DJ when Matt Turner left for Arsenal. He explained that his “phone is open. There’s no passcode.” He is willing to play anything from country to hip-hop to reggaetón.
In the grand scheme of things, Farrell’s role as DJ is insignificant—he even admits that he wants to pass it on—but it serves as a reminder that he’s a team player.
In fact, Farrell is an absolute professional and he hopes to instill lessons in the next generation.
“I just go in every day and try to pass on my wisdom and experience that I’ve had and the little things I’ve done,” Farrell. “It’s different for every player. You’ve got guys that are very talented and make it look so easy. For a player like myself, it’s just hard work and showing up. For some of the young guys, that’s what I’m trying to get them to do.”
Farrell mentions that he teaches younger players to arrive early, stretch often, and never skip treatment. He also makes sure they know that they should lean on teammates during tough times.
Whether Farrell stays with the Revolution for his entire career or heads elsewhere, his legacy with the team is secure.
“Hopefully one day, I’ll look back and I’ll look at some of these players that I’ve helped out along the way.”