Beleaguered Captain Shalrie Joseph’s Troubles ContinueBy: Robbie | February 22nd, 2011
The Boston Globe has reported New England’s Captain, Shalrie Joseph, has been dismissed from the squad’s Orlando training camp along with teammate Kevin Alston. Both players featured in Friday’s 2-0 win over the University of Central Florida, but have not appeared in training for the past two days. Though staff and players alike remain mum on the reason for the dismissal, the pair is expected to rejoin the club in Foxborough later in the week.
While this is Alston’s first disciplinary incident, Joseph has faced numerous on-field and off-field setbacks in the last couple of years. The Grenadian international missed several games early in the 2010 campaign due to a thigh injury and incurred a five-match suspension and an MLS-mandated rehab stint for testing positive for marijuana in April.
As Shalrie struggled, so did his team, crashing to 6th in their conference and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001. He let his on field and off-field frustrations mix into an ugly tempest, mishandling his disappointment with his contract negotiations and an inexperienced starting eleven. He freely admitted in an interview earlier this year that he, “wasn’t mature enough or man enough to tell the guys what they should be doing (on the pitch).”
The 2011 season was supposed to be a year of revival for the man who wears the arm band, but in the early stages of the preseason, Joseph has already twice ran into trouble. He missed the opening day of training camp due to personal reasons and now has been banned from the Orlando training grounds.
Veteran keeper Matt Reis had this to say regarding the newest incident: “It’s very unfortunate, very distracting, something I think could have been avoided. But we have to move on and we can’t stop doing what we’re doing to get ready for the season.”
Despite these shadows, Shalrie Joseph has had a shining career for New England. Along with Reis, he is the longest tenured player at the club, tallying 210 appearances and 28 goals. The four-time MLS Best XI midfielder has always been known for his outstanding ability to see the field, delivering perfectly weighted balls on the attacking end and no-nonsense tackles on the other.
But as many know, holding the captaincy is much more than simply being a great player. The 2011 New England squad desperately needs an element of true leadership from its captain. Struggling against a slow decline in quality and enduring the departures of star players and hometown favorites alike, this young, largely untested squad needs a player to come forward. If Joseph has finally proven his lack of reliability, than another player must come forward. As coach Stevie Nicol stated: “At the end of the day we’re looking for everyone to step up. I’m a believer that it’s not just one guy who’s captain. We need everyone to step up, that’s what you look for in preseason…it’s my call (to name the captain). The good thing is I can decide when I want.’’ At thirty-two years of age and in the last year of his contract, the final grains of sand may very well be falling on Joseph’s time with New England.