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A roster spot in New England for Shalrie Joseph? Far from a done deal

Feb 27, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

Kalif Alhassan, Shalrie Joseph

There aren’t many figures around MLS who are reservists, at best, and probably heading toward a bunch of late-appearances and U.S. Open Cup starts, who can still command our attention.

Shalrie Joseph is one of them.

Joseph, as we all learned last week, is in the New England Revolution’s preseason camp.

This wonderfully thorough piece from The Bent Musket, a New England Revolution blog, does a great job of detailing all those pot holes and low-hanging branches along this road.

There are contract complications and perhaps some politics that brush up against the possibility of hard feelings.

Here’s just a slightly different take, or perhaps the very same take, just seen a little different way: It’s all about Joseph and what he’s willing to accept.

He has always been a fiercely proud man. But at this point, as a 35-year-old midfielder who spent a significant portion of his career playing on artificial turf, he has to realistically assess his ability to contribute.

And he has to be willing to accept a completely different role. Scott Caldwell is this team’s holding midfielder.  That’s not to say Joseph cannot come in and fight for a spot; that’s fine.

But he’s probably not going to unseat Caldwell, who performed so well last year as a rookie. And he has to show right now that he’s going to be a loyal soldier, a total professional and 100 percent supporter of all coaching decisions, no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.”

Joseph is in that small group MLS men who served brilliantly over a bunch of years but never won an MLS Cup. Taylor Twellman and Jason Kreis are other fine examples.

So it would be great to see Joseph finish a remarkable career where it started – but he’ll have to make some personal concessions to get there.

  1. Hazardous Wastes - Feb 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I can’t imagine Sharlie being ok with taking a backseat to Caldwell. I doubt this move happens.

    • talgrath - Feb 28, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Given that Joseph rode the pine for most of his season with the Sounders and he took a pay cut and became a non-DP to remain with the team; he probably is willing to accept it. For me, I think the biggest question is whether he can still play; all last year with the Sounders he looked sluggish and awkward, I think father time has caught up with him too much.

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