Only three weeks since the Revolution signed and sold goalkeeper Matt Pickens, they have signed another third-string goalkeeper- Larry Jackson. Jackson, 23, played college soccer for the powerhouse program at Santa Clara but was not selected in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. As a result he has spent the last year and a half bouncing between lower level clubs (Des Moines Menace, FC Tucson) and trials with MLS clubs (Colorado, Chivas USA) before signing with New England yesterday.
With Pickens sold to the Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) and Luis Soffner on loan with Rochester Rhinos (USL-Pro) the Revolution’s need for a third string goalkeeper is understandable (it helps with training, there’s no need to recall Soffner from Rochester if Shuttleworth or Knighton is injured and must miss a match, etc.). That being said, however, to the best of my knowledge the third string goalkeeper does not travel to away matches, so why not have an academy player like Austin Aviza take part in training with the senior team as he did during the preseason?
All of this being said, I can’t help shake the feeling that the Revs are trying desperately to find somebody to replace Shuttleworth or Knighton. Shuttleworth has been better this year and Knighton would be a perfectly acceptable back-up if the first choice goalkeeper were one of the better ones in the league- he could spot start, play in U.S. Open Cup matches, etc.. Unfortunately, Shuttleworth is probably going to top out at “good enough,” rather than rise to the level of “game changer” that the Revs were fortunate to have in Matt Reis for so long.
Unfortunately, if this is the process, it will probably take a season or two to find a top quality goalkeeper and we can expect that the club will probably keep bringing in candidates until they find that person. In the meantime, “good enough” will have to be good enough.