[MLS] Following the departure of longtime coach coach Steve Nicol, the New England Revolution's owners, Robert and Jonathan Kraft, have turned to the club's front office to make changes. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has been replaced as Revolution president by Brian Bilello, the club's chief operating officer the last six
years, and Michael Burns is the new general manager.
Gulati had joined Kraft Soccer in 1999 following his exit as MLS deputy commissioner. He became U.S. soccer vice president in 2002 and president in 2006. He'll remain as a special advisor to the Revs and Krafts.
Bilello joined the Kraft Sports Group in 2003 as director of quality and operational control at the Kraft-owned Gillette Stadium. He'll now focus solely on the Revs.
In the past, Bilello only oversaw the business side of the operations, nothing on the team side, so he'll now be Burns' boss.
"Mike will be the general manager and I guess it’s easier to start from that perspective," said Bilello. "The head coach will be reporting in to Mike, and every other aspect of our soccer operations there will be reporting in to Mike. So whether that’s the youth, he’ll oversee scouting, player development, the coach and all the technical staff. In the past, Michael did not have that authority over all those groups, so now he will. He is then ultimately accountable to me on all decisions related to that."
Burns played for the Revolution when MLS began in 1996 and represented the USA at the 1998 World Cup. He had been vice president of player personnel the past four seasons. Now he'll handle all aspects of the soccer operations, including coaching and player moves.
“Major League Soccer has evolved significantly in the last few years and while we felt we had a structure in place that had worked well earlier and led us to success, the last two years did not live up to our expectations,” said Robert Kraft. “With this new executive structure, we will be better positioned to compete for championships on the field while we continue to focus on growing our business and building a soccer-specific venue in the Commonwealth.”
The Revs have played at the old Foxboro Stadium and Gillette Stadium, both owned by the Krafts, and are one of only two original MLS teams not to play in or have concrete plans for a soccer-specific stadium.
Added Bilello, "I’d say in my old role, as chief operating officer, I was already primarily engaged in that and that will not change in terms of that’s still -- off the field, I’ll say and not related to the soccer side -- our biggest initiative that we’re working on today. It will continue to be so and we’re working pretty hard at it."