It has been a constant refrain from the supporters on the hashtag — #AnnounceJonBell — over the last month and a half or so, and on Monday morning, the Revolution finally did it.
The Original Ten outfit announced it had signed Jon Bell and Brazilian defensive midfielder Maciel, both of whom excelled for the USL League One Revolution II crew last summer, to one-year contracts with an option for the 2022 season.
Technically, the announcement came during Sunday’s virtual Season Member Event, held annually.
“Jon and Maciel showed great potential last season with Revolution II and have performed well over the last several weeks in preseason training with our first team,” Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena said in a team statement. “They have both earned this opportunity to join our MLS roster and we look forward to seeing them continue their development here in New England.”
Bell played all but one match during the abbreviated maiden season in League One for Revs II, playing well over 1,000 minutes. Maciel, too, played over 1,000 minutes in his debut season.
The USL side had exercised options on both players on Nov. 30.
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
One of the things that fans have bemoaned lately is the lack of center back depth in this Revolution side. Sure, Arena brought in AJ DeLaGarza this offseason, and he can play there, but many feel he’ll see more time at right back.
Having Bell as a potential center back option along with Collin Verfurth, who he paired with at Revs II, should solve that problem.
Last year, though, I posed an interesting question: can Bell handle the speed of the top flight game; he handled the third division pretty well, for the most part, with one off game against Chattanooga. I also marked him down in the last three matches of Los Revitos’ season, too, and the hope is that he has shaken those performances and is ready to go.
Will he get minutes in MLS? I suspect only if there’s an injury, or if the US U23’s clinch an Olympic bid and Henry Kessler goes to Japan in the middle of the season; Bell plays Kessler’s side, while Verfurth plays Andrew Farrell’s. There is also the potential for US Open Cup minutes should the Revs make it; we’ve mentioned before how MLS clubs love to call upon their third division squad players to spell the regular starters in that competition, something the Revs have used draft choices and lower depth chart players for in the past.
Same question for Maciel, the Brazilian. I marked him down twice last season, but there were times where he was the calming influence in the middle. Depending on what he does in training, he could be a nice depth piece for Arena, given the options in the defensive midfield right now between Wilfrid Kaptoum, Scott Caldwell, Luis Caicedo, Matt Polster, Tommy McNamara, and now Maciel.
Honestly? I don’t recall when this team and this fan base has been so spoiled by a near-full roster — 27, by my count — and a lot of depth.