Claude Dielna sat down in one of the front rows of a largely empty stadium and surveyed his surroundings on a bright, sunny morning. He and his agent traveled from Europe to Boston in late July to assess the viability of a new opportunity afforded to him. After loan spells in Slovakia and Romania over the past two seasons and the conclusion of his contract in England at the end of last season, the former Sheffield Wednesday defender wanted to assess the situation before making his final decision.
As Dielna and his agent scanned the training session, they thought about the possibilities at hand. They held their meetings and their meals with Revolution general manager Michael Burns (Marlboro, Mass.) and coach Jay Heaps (Longmeadow, Mass.) as club and player both contemplated a future together.
There were no certainties when Dielna landed for a two-day visit. Before he departed to return home, he decided his journey — a lengthy road that started in his native France and wound through five countries before this one — involved a new stop in a foreign land.
"When I knew the club was interested in me, I was very happy," Dielna told New England Soccer Journal after training last month. "I know the club. I know it is a big club in America. I like the philosophy of the club and the team. I watched a lot of games. That’s why I wanted to come here."
For the past several years, players such as Dielna and fellow summer signing Krisztian Nemeth have found a home in Foxboro. They are talented figures who needed a change of scenery or a fresh start to slide back on track.