Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC defender Josh Phillips was invited to train with the MLS New England Revolution this week. Phillips, 23, was a breakout star this season with the Switchbacks, and quickly became a fan favorite on the back line. The Revs hope he brings the same intensity that made him a consistent anchor at central defender on one of the USL’s best defensive teams. Defense is an area of need for New England, having previously worked out Americans Will Packwood and Zak Whitbread, but declining to offer them contracts. Should Phillips sign with New England, he would be the first Switchbacks FC player to make the jump from USL to MLS.
"I’m here training and hoping to be the first Switchbacks’ player represented in the MLS," Phillips said in a statement from the team. "I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for everything the Switchbacks have done for me and taught me this year."
For fans, its a bittersweet development. While there is excitement and pride at seeing one of our boys get a shot at the big stage, his departure would leave some big shoes to fill. The good news is that should he move on, the team can use him as an example while recruiting future players. The third tier USL is filled with young players looking for their second or third chance in the pros, and seeing that the Switchbacks can develop players into potential MLS players is a huge selling point. And as fans, we should get used to the reality that we will see players come and go, but seeing our players move into the top tier is reason to celebrate not only that player, but our own coaching staff as well. It’s a testament to the coaching and scouting of Head Coach Steve Trittschuh and assistant Wolde Harris that our players are being prepared to compete at higher levels.
As the offseason kicks into gear, expect more announcements and reports of Switchbacks players training with MLS sides.