BOSTON, Mass. — The New England Revolution fired general manager Mike Burns.
Burns’ dismissal Monday came just days after the club fired head coach Brad Friedel and ended the executive’s eight-year tenure as general manager.
Burns, a former defender on the United States men’s national team, is from Marlborough, Mass. and was on the inaugural 1996 New England Revolution roster. He also played for the San Jose Earthquakes (2000) and the Kansas City Wizards (2001-02) before he retired. He went on to serve as New England’s director of soccer from 2005-08 before being promoted to vice president of player personnel, a position he held until being named general manager in 2011.
“As an original Revolution player and throughout his time with the club’s front office, Michael has always been a terrific ambassador for the club,” said Revolution President Brian Bilello in a prepared statement. “His impact on the team and organization has been felt in many ways and we are grateful for his commitment and service to the New England Revolution.”
Burns had been a controversial executive almost since his arrival in New England’s front office.
He developed a reputation as a tough negotiator and drew criticism from fellow general managers and sporting directors across the league, as well as player agents.
Burns also oversaw the hiring of two Revolution coaches, Jay Heaps and Friedel, both hired without significant head coaching experience.
The Revolution earned mixed results during Burns’ time with the club. When he arrived as the team’s director of soccer in 2005, the Revolution were among MLS’ elite. The team went to three consecutive MLS Cups from 2005-07, losing in each title game, and also won the 2007 US Open Cup. That said, the core of those teams — namely leading scorer Taylor Twellman, plus midfielders Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Andy Dorman, defender Michael Parkhurst and goalkeeper Matt Reis — was scouted and acquired by the coaching staff at the time.
Since Burns’ promotion to general manager in 2011, the Revolution have qualified for the playoffs three times. The Revolution’s record during regular-season matches with Burns in the GM role was 91-103-57.
Last Thursday, shortly after the club announced Friedel’s departure, the Midnight Riders, one of the New England Revolution supporters groups, thanked Burns for his service as a player but asked for him to be removed as the team’s GM.
Burns did not comment on the group’s statement, and said Friday he would not comment on his employment status.
“In light of recent results and the team’s on-field direction over the last few seasons, we felt it was time to take the soccer side of the organization in a different direction,” Bilello said in the statement. “We expect to make an announcement related to leadership of the soccer organization in the coming days.”
Twellman, who is now a commentator for ESPN, tweeted Monday evening that he expects former Los Angeles Galaxy and United States men’s national team coach Bruce Arena to be named either coach, GM or both this week.
New England (3-8-2, 11 points) is last in the Eastern Conference table, but is just five points out of the seventh and final playoff spot with more than half the season remaining. The Revs host Chelsea in a charity match Wednesday, then travel to Canada to play the Montreal Impact on Saturday.