Jay Heaps
Jay Heaps, coach of New England Revolution, holds the trophy as the team celebrates after defeating the New York Red Bulls the MLS Eastern Conference Championship at Gillette Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

CARSON – New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps has had quite the life journey. The 38-year-old learned from college basketball legend Mike Krzyzewski while playing at Duke University. He had an all star caliber career in the MLS with the Miami Fusion and the Revolution. He was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2000 and MLS Defender of the Year in 2009. He was a rising star with the United States’ Men’s National Team under current Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.

Five years ago Heaps retired from soccer and decided to pursue a post-playing career in finance. He joined Morgan Stanley in early 2010 as a Private Wealth Manager. A job in which he provided investment advice and managed portfolios for some of the richest men in the world a group he calls “ultra-high-net-worth individuals.”

But while working at Morgan Stanley, Heaps knew something was missing from his life: the game he loved. Heaps calls soccer his “true passion,” and he joined the New England Revolution as a commentator while doing double duty with Morgan Stanley in 2010. The following year, the team fired former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol as head coach and Heaps jumped at the opportunity to take over the team. He wasted no time in accepting the position and putting a plan into pace to take the team from MLS mediocrity to the mountaintop.

“When you step away from the career I had, it was going in a pretty good direction at Morgan Stanley, but it wasn’t about that,” said Heaps during the 2014 MLS Cup pregame press conference on Thursday. “It was about getting back to what I truly loved doing, being around the game, being around these guys.”

Heaps had a rough first season with the Revolution as the club finished second-to-last in the Eastern Conference and were still missing the stars they so desperately needed.

But Heaps remained steadfast in his plan for the team and stayed patient. He added pieces like Lee Nguyen, Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury who have matured into three of the league’s top players. Success came in 2013, but the Revolution had an up and down season.

“That first year was about finding players like Lee and players we could build the future around, for me, as dismal as it may be for you guys to look at, in terms of results, we were really building something,” Heaps said. “I thought we were getting that core group of guys to be in the position we are today.”

Today, the Revolution stand at the precipice of the game’s ultimate prize: the MLS Cup. After adding World Cup star, Jermaine Jones, who helped the United States advance out of the “Group of Death” with his goal against Portugal, the team went on to lose just one game during the final two months of the season.

“The one thing that Jermaine has brought by coming here is a real swagger, a confidence that allows the players to do well. We as coaches can say, ‘Hey you’re great,’ but that doesn’t mean anything until a player like Jermaine steps on the field,” he said of his star midfielder.

The Revolution are rolling and stand just one win away from bringing New England their fist ever championship in the sport of soccer. Heaps played in four MLS Cups as a player, all of which his team lost, but to win the first Cup in franchise history and return to Foxborough as the man who went from Morgan Stanley to MLS mastermind would finally bring his journey full circle.

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