Former club captain and longtime fan favorite Shalrie Joseph rejoined the New England Revolution on Tuesday after he was acquired by the club via the waiver draft.
Joseph, 35, spent nearly 10 seasons (2003-2012) with the Revolution before he was traded to Chivas USA in August 2012. He spent the 2013 season with the Seattle Sounders before his contract was bought out by the club last month.
Before Joseph was officially let go by Seattle, he was given an opportunity to train with the Revolution during the 2014 preseason. He saw action in one preseason game, and remained with the squad through the first few weeks of the regular season.
Prior to the Revolution’s home opener on Mar. 22, general manager Michael Burns was effusive in his praise for Joseph, even though the club captain was reportedly jettisoned to Chivas USA after butting heads with coach Jay Heaps.
“Shalrie’s been great,” Burns said at the time. “I give Shalrie a lot of credit for him to come back here, and be willing to go on trial. (It) says a lot about him, says a lot about his character, because that’s not easy for an older player with his resume to come in and say ‘OK, I’m going to show you what I can and can’t do.’”
However, after he wasn’t spotted at training during recent weeks, many believed that Joseph hadn’t done enough to a earn a deal with the team.
Until Tuesday, that is. In another example of the complexity regarding player acquisition in MLS, Burns also pointed out last month that if the team intended to sign Joseph, it wouldn’t be easy.
“Obviously, there is no free agency in MLS,” Burns said. “Although he’s not with Seattle, there’s not a 100 percent guarantee that, even if we wanted to sign him, he would end up in New England. So we have to work that though with the league.”
Joseph is the all-time club leader in games played with 261 regular season appearances. He scored 40 goals and added 35 assists during his time with the Revolution.
As an eight-time MLS All-Star, a four-time MLS Best XI selection and 2009 MVP finalist, there was no denying Joseph’s impact on the club during the 2000s. His performance on the pitch not only won him the affection of the fanbase, but the respect of the Revolution locker room during the club’s run to three-straight MLS Cup finals between 2005-07.
But at 35, there are questions concerning Joseph’s recent injury history and fitness. He was limited to a career-low 10 games with the Sounders last year, with only six starts amid a season in which an MCL sprain put him on the shelf during the summer.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Joseph has also played striker at various points in his his career. With Andy Dorman and Scott Caldwell both showing themselves capable at the defensive midfielder’s spot, Joseph could project as a center back, a spot he’s manned in the past for the Revolution.
The addition of Joseph puts the Revolution roster at 29, with one open spot remaining.