MLS great Joseph gives Sounders a try
Shunned by Chivas USA, he’s looking for a home
TUKWILA – One of the most accomplished players in MLS, who is under contract with another team, just strolled into a Sounders FC practice on Friday morning.
It didn’t take long, however, for Shalrie Joseph’s unannounced presence in Seattle to receive leaguewide attention.
Such is the case for seven-time MLS All-Stars and four-time MLS Best XI honorees.
Joseph, 34, has been allowed by his team, Chivas USA, to explore options, and his first choice was the Sounders. The two clubs are in trade talks, according to multiple reports, but coach Sigi Schmid declined to confirm that.
“He’s still property of Chivas and we have permission to look at him, so we’re looking at him a little bit,” Schmid said.
Only five players in MLS history have been named to the Best XI more than Joseph, a Grenadian international. He played 10 seasons for the New England Revolution – a three-time MLS Cup finalist from 2005-07 – before being traded to Chivas USA last summer.
“He’s a quality player,” Schmid added. “He’s always been a quality player. He’s been involved on good teams. I thought he was a main cog in (the New England) teams that got to MLS Cup for a lot of years. … There’s a lot of positive qualities to him, but it’s also we’re a team that’s (salary) cap-constrained and there are a lot of things to work out.”
Joseph has been a designated player for Chivas USA and made more than $550,000 in guaranteed compensation last season. If the Los Angeles-based team wants to get rid of him – new coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola has said Joseph is not in his plans for 2013 – it will likely have to assume some of the salary owed.
“Hopefully, they can make it work,” said Joseph, who hasn’t been shy about the frustrations of his uncertain future.
After practicing for the first time with the Sounders, he noted, “It feels good to train with some guys who actually appreciate what I can bring to a team.”
Joseph, a sturdy 6-feet-3, has played most of his career as a defensive midfielder – not exactly a position of need for the Sounders. But he can also play as a central defender, where Seattle could use help.
“I think this is a good place for me, especially at this point in my career,” Joseph said.